May Wallace Newburger

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1920 - 2012
May Wallace Newburger - a legendary Long Island public official, a champion of social justice causes, and a beloved mentor to many – died on August 30, 2012 at her home in Great Neck, New York. She was 92.

May was born on January 22, 1920 in Springfield, Massachusetts. She was raised by her mother, Augusta Wallace, her aunt Evelyn and her Uncle Jerry. May earned her undergraduate degree from Hunter College and a Masters Degree from Columbia University. She was married twice. Her second marriage, to Jack Newburger, lasted 30 years until his death in 1978.

May was active in numerous community, social justice, and political causes during the 1950's and 1960's. May ran unsuccessfully in 1977 for a seat in the New York State Senate. In 1979, May was victorious in her campaign to represent the residents of the 16th Assembly District. May held this seat for four terms, during which time she introduced landmark legislation advancing the rights of women, requiring the closure of landfills, and protecting groundwater on Long Island. She retired from the Assembly in 1986.

May emerged from retirement to run successfully for the North Hempstead Town Council in 1991. She was elected as the Supervisor of the Town of North Hempstead in 1993, a position she held for five terms. As the town's first female Supervisor, May demonstrated that it is possible to be fiscally responsible, environmentally progressive, and committed to the redevelopment of historically neglected communities. She stabilized the town's finances, closed the town's remaining landfills, and transformed the Morewood property in Port Washington into Harbor Links, one of the country's most environmentally friendly golf courses and recreational facilities. She established a town Environmental Legacy Fund, and she laid the foundation for the redevelopment of the hamlet of New Cassel in the Town of North Hempstead.

May was active in dozens of local and national organizations and earned numerous awards and honors. In 1981, she served as a New York State delegate to the National White House Conference on Families, and between 1987 and 1989, she chaired the American Jewish Congress' National Commission on Women's Equality. She was a member of the State Judicial Committee on Women in the Courts, the Governor's Commission on Domestic Violence and the State Commission on Child Care. May held a number of leadership positions with the American Jewish Congress, served as a delegate to four Democratic National Conventions, and co-founded the Long Island Women's Political Caucus. The Town of North Hempstead's Women's Honor Roll is named in her honor.

May is survived by her son, Peter Newburger. A memorial celebration will be held on Sunday, October 7, 2012 at the Harbor Links clubhouse in Port Washington, New York. A reception is scheduled for noon, and the memorial celebration will commence promptly at 1PM. In lieu of donations, May's friends, colleagues, and loved ones are encouraged to record their thoughts, reflections, and stories at
Published on from Sept. 14 to Sept. 15, 2012