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June Z (Zimmermanne) Gillespie
January 18, 1929 ~ October 7, 2023 (age 94) 94 Years Old
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June Gillespie a long time Hudson Valley resident, recently of Cranford, NJ passed away peacefully after a lifetime of service and mentorship.
Born in Kingston NY she graduated from Kingston High school as Valedictorian in 1944. Since she was only 15, she spent a post graduate year continuing her language studies and working for both Western Union as well as playing the piano on the local radio station. At Bates College she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and also met and married her husband, Aaron Lee Gillespie. After graduation she and Aaron moved to California where she worked for UCLA as an assistant to the dean of students.
June and Aaron returned to the Hudson Valley, Aaron working for IBM and June beginning her career with The Social Security Administration. She would continue to work as a field representative striving to improve the lives of the mentally ill, the previously incarcerated and persons with disabilities. She retired at age 80. June and Aaron were founding members of the Unitarian Fellowship of Poughkeepsie. During her early involvement with The League of Women Voters she actually had lunch with Eleanor Roosevelt and she continued as an election official for years to come. She was honored to be the first women to serve on the NY State Board of the United Way. She sat on The President’s Council for the Aging during the Clinton administration. The Hudson Vally Philharmonic was a great joy to June and she supported their development as well as helping to organize the highly esteemed String Competition. For several years she worked with The Girl Scouts of America and was a member of the national board.
During each of her service experiences June strove to mentor her co-workers, her impact on professional women cannot be overstated. She leaves behind daughter Heather G Walano and her son in law Carl Walano, four grandsons, their wives and 2 great grand daughters. Her greatest wish she said was that they too would be “women of consequence”.