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Zonta Club applauds volunteer

Joyce Rudolph

Mary Alice O’Connor, a legend in volunteer service, received a grand

thank-you from political dignitaries, her family and friends at the

Zonta Club of Burbank Area’s Woman of the Year luncheon Nov. 8 at The



In welcoming guests, Zonta President Grace Farenbaugh commended

O’Connor for 60 years of dedication in determining what was needed

in the community and seeing projects to completion, while mentoring


and inspiring others.

O’Connor’s service began with the Red Cross during World War II

and grew to leadership responsibilities in the PTA and Girl and Boy

scouts. Over the years, she’s given time to Burbank Tournament of

Roses, Friends of the Burbank Library, Burbank Historical Society and

the Burbank Chapter of the American Field Service exchange student


She was elected to the Burbank Board of Education from 1961 to



O’Connor was instrumental in the re-opening of the Starlight Bowl

in 1992. She has sold tickets for the Hollywood Bowl season for 35

years and introduced youngsters to classical music as the first

chairwoman of the Children’s Open House.

She continues to serve on the board of directors of the Burbank

Health Care Foundation and the Family Service Agency of Burbank and

continues membership in La Providencia Guild of Childrens Hospital


Los Angeles, KCET Women’s Council, City of Burbank Civic Pride

Committee, National Charity League Burbank Chapter and the Burbank


Mayor Stacey Murphy lauded O’Connor for her endless energy and her

incredible ability for always having a smile on her face and making

everyone else feel important.

“Thank you so much for everything you have given to Burbank. I

know you are not going to stop and Zonta has made a good choice in

you,” she said.

Many family members attended the luncheon, including daughter J.P.

and son John.

J.P. said that volunteer is listed in the labor codes as a job

category but defined as an uncompensated worker.

“But Mom would disagree,” she said. “The compensation she’s gotten

through all the years are so many wonderful friends and experiences.”

School board member Paul Krekorian spoke of O’Connor’s

far-reaching accomplishments.

“There are few worthy causes in the city of Burbank that don’t

have Mary Alice’s fingerprints on them and we all owe her so much,”

he said.

Zonta made a donation of $500 in O’Connor’s name to the Family

Service Agency, celebrating its 50 years in the community.

Chairwoman of the luncheon, Zonta member Nickie Bonner, taped a

video of O’Connor with help from the city of Burbank Public

Information Office that was shown during the event.

Proceeds from the luncheon benefit Zonta’s charities including

Burbank Police Bear Hugs Program, which provides teddy bears for

children dealing with traumatic experiences; Burbank Public Library

literacy programs; Burbank Temporary Aid Center; Family Service

Agency; scholarships for graduating high school seniors; and Burbank

schools spelling bee.

Zonta is an international organization that strives to improve the

status of women. The local club supports the international group’s

foundation, which funds international service projects and

educational fellowships.