Aug. 24, 1943 – Jan. 24, 2013
Kathleen E. Hallock, the second woman ever to serve as Clarence town supervisor and a respected figure in town politics, died Thursday in Hospice Buffalo, Cheektowaga, after a battle with cancer. She was 69.
Mrs. Hallock was supervisor from 2002 through 2007. She returned to public service last year when she was named deputy supervisor.
Born Kathleen Elizabeth Britt in Lockport, she was a graduate of Mount St. Mary Academy in the Town of Tonawanda and earned an associate degree from Empire State College. Before becoming town bookkeeper in 1986, she worked as a bookkeeper and accountant for several firms. She also did bookkeeping for her husband’s contracting business.
She served as town bookkeeper until 1993, when she was elected tax receiver. She was receiver until she won election as town supervisor, taking office at the start of 2002.
Mrs. Hallock was the second woman – after Anne Case – to serve as Clarence town supervisor and the first Republican woman. She served two terms and retired from town government at the end of 2007, opting not to seek re-election.
She first won election to a two-year term as supervisor campaigning on a platform to slow down growth in the town, defeating incumbent Daniel Herberger. In 2003, she won re-election over Ian McPherson, despite the town’s Republican committee endorsing McPherson over her in a primary, and became the first to serve as supervisor for the newly instituted four-year term.
Friends and colleagues praised Mrs. Hallock’s approach to public service and her tenacity in fighting cancer.
“She wasn’t really a politician but just a good person, and a good person who wound up being in politics, which I think maybe is the best possible combination,” said current Supervisor David C. Hartzell Jr.
Hartzell said he benefited from her advice as his deputy supervisor. “With Kathy Hallock, it was always, ‘What’s best for the people of the town of Clarence?’ ”
Town Councilman Patrick Casilio Jr. said Mrs. Hallock inspired him to run for office. “She wasn’t afraid to overhaul the town and the way things operate. During her tenure, she definitely revamped the town code.”
She was supervisor during a contentious period in 2004, when the Town Board approved a moratorium on construction of new subdivisions that had not yet gone through the approval process. The objective was to give the fast-growing town time to update its zoning codes. She defended the town’s decision in the face of strong opposition from builders and developers.
A 2003 Buffalo News endorsement said her “independence, her solid financial background and her cautious approach to growth have worked well for Clarence.” In June 2008, the town honored her career, dedicating a Town Hall conference room in her name.
The Clarence Chamber of Commerce named her its Citizen of the Year in 2009.
She was a past president of the Erie County Association of Tax Receivers and Collectors and a member of New York State Women, formerly Business and Professional Women. She was active in the Clarence Historical Society and played a major role in organizing the town bicentennial celebration in 2008.
Surviving are her husband of 47 years, David; three daughters, Michelle Probst, Bridget, and Megan Sarkis; a son, Michael; a sister, Mary Harrald; and a brother, David Britt.
A memorial Mass will be offered at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church, 4375 Harris Hill Road at Main Street, Clarence.
– Matt Glynn