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
“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,”
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