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Mary Luckern: An educator of all times

In 1953, Mary Luckern came to Geneva for what she hoped would be a one-year teaching job in the city school district.

Little did she know it would be the start of a 44-year career that would see her touch thousands of lives as a teacher and administrator.

“In many ways, she stands as Geneva’s educator of all times,” said her close friend Chris Lavin, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Geneva. “She had a hand in four generations of Geneva families whose children made their way through the schools she ran.”

Luckern, who retired in 1997 and then turned her attention to local politics — she served as Geneva town supervisor for 16 years — passed away Sunday at the age of 87.

In addition to her decades of service to the school district and town, Luckern served on numerous community boards that included the Boys & Girls Club, Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes and her alma mater, SUNY Geneseo.

“She was a longtime board member, right up to the end,” said Ellen Wayne, executive director of Catholic Charities. “Not only was she a strong supporter of the work we do, she was always holding us accountable for that work. She never missed an opportunity to line a constituent up with us and following through on it.

“Just in the last week, she had a caregiver whose family was in need of our services and asked how we can help this person. She was all about making the community a better place to live.”

A Seneca Falls native, Luckern graduated from Geneseo in 1953 and did her student teaching in Geneva. The district offered her a job right out of college; although Luckern only expected it to be for a year, the district helped her earn a master’s degree to keep her here.

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