NY rites set for Latina political pioneer
The Associated Press (July 31, 2009)
NEW YORK (AP) – A funeral will be held Monday for former New York state Sen. Olga Mendez. She was the first Puerto Rican woman elected to a state legislature in the mainland United States.
Mendez, who was 84, died Wednesday at her East Harlem home. She had been diagnosed with cancer.
The funeral Mass will be held Monday at the Church of the Holy Agony in Manhattan. She will be buried in the Bronx.
Mendez was a state senator from 1978 to 2004. She wielded tremendous political influence in the Hispanic community and beyond.
Republican-turned-independent Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Mendez helped him see the wisdom of reaching across partisan lines to “do what’s right for your constituents.”
Mendez lost her seat after switching parties, from Democrat to Republican.
Wed, 07/29/2009 – 10:24pm
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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Late Senator Olga Mendez
Political Icon Dies in NYC
Former NYS Senator Olga Mendez died in her sleep Wednesday morning at 1:10 AM in her East Harlem apartment.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by the Campbell Funeral Chapel in Manhattan. The Senator had requested that she be cremated, and on Monday morning there will be a funeral mass, with her remains present, at her church, the Church of the Holy Agony 1834 3rd Avenue (101st Street). The time will be 9:00 AM.
Her nephew said, “She was ready. She had been under a lot of pain for the last five months. She did it on her terms, and died very peacefully.”
Olga Mendez was born Olga Aran in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico on February 5th, 1925. Her burial will take place at St. Michael’s Cemetery in the Bronx. In lieu of flowers, the Senator had requested donations be made, in her name, to the Boriken Health Center at Taino Towers in East Harlem. As she had requested, there will be no viewing or wake.