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March 23, 1935 – Sept. 24, 2013

Virginia W. Ziebarth, the retired head of planning for the Town of Amherst, died Tuesday at her home under the care of hospice. She was 78.

Born Virginia Lee Watts in Albany, she attended the Albany Academy for Girls after spending her childhood in Buffalo.

She graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Albany. After returning to Buffalo, she taught English, French and Latin at Bennett and Amherst high schools.

Mrs. Ziebarth was awarded a master’s degree in applied public affairs at the University of Buffalo and taught in the School of Applied Public Affairs before moving to the Town of Amherst Planning Department as planner and then as senior planner in charge of current planning.

After retiring in 1996, she traveled extensively with her husband, family and friends to destinations around the world.

A lifelong volunteer, Mrs. Ziebarth worked with students at Antonia Pantoja School for Excellence for 13 years and volunteered at the G. Robert Strauss Jr. Memorial Library at Albright-Knox Art Gallery for more than 10 years.

She taught English as a second language to numerous immigrants in the area through the Buffalo-Niagara chapter of Literacy Volunteers, becoming lifelong friends with many of her students from around the world.

Mrs. Ziebarth was also a longtime member of the University at Buffalo Women’s Society and a member of Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo for nearly 50 years. She served on the board of trustees and many committees.

She attended classes in music, history, world religions and other subjects throughout her retirement. A lover of classical music, she regularly attended Buffalo Chamber Society and Buffalo Philharmonic concerts for more than 50 years.

For decades, she was an avid exercise walker, bridge player, tennis player and accomplished birder.

Survivors include her husband of 52 years, Paul R.; and three daughters, Anne Ziebarth, Rebecca McCauley and Carol Zolondick.

A celebration of her life will be held at 10 a.m. Oct. 12 in Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo, 695 Elmwood Ave.