Mary Ann Arty-majors, Delco Political Figure

Posted: October 28, 2000

Mary Ann Arty-Majors, 73, the first woman to lead Delaware County Council and an indefatigable presence in local and state politics for more than 25 years, died Thursday at Blake Medical Center in Bradenton, Fla.

A spokeswoman at the Florida funeral home handling arrangements said her death was listed as being of natural causes, but the cause was not known.

"She is going to be missed," said Carole Janiczek, an administrative assistant with the county Human Services Department who was a legislative aide to Mrs. Arty-Majors, a Republican, during her tenure in the state House of Representatives from 1979 to 1988.

"Mary Ann was the type of person who would remember you after meeting you only one time. She cared about what was going on in your life," Janiczek said. "She did a lot of good for a lot of people in Delaware County."

Mrs. Arty-Majors retired to Bradenton in 1998 after marrying Donald Majors, her second husband, and leaving her post as director of the Human Services Department. She was appointed in 1995 after serving on County Council for eight years.

Mrs. Arty-Majors, a registered nurse, began her political career as a GOP committeewoman and health officer in Springfield Township. She became vice chairwoman of the county Republican Party in 1975 and was appointed to the Springfield Township Board of Commissioners in 1977, becoming the first woman to serve on that board.

A year later, she was elected to the state House in the 165th District, breaking ground again as the first woman in that post.

Known as a tireless worker, Mrs. Arty-Majors kept both positions for a time, but later gave up her seat on the Board of Commissioners.

"There were nights when she would get on the turnpike from Harrisburg and come down for a meeting, and then turn around that night and go back," Janiczek said.

"She was a very hardworking public official," said Rep. William F. "Bill" Adolph, who succeeded Mrs. Arty-Majors in the House.

While in Harrisburg, Mrs. Arty-Majors pushed successfully for legislation requiring safety seats for young children in cars. She often turned her attention to issues of health and safety, continuing that focus when she was appointed to County Council in 1987 and subsequently elected to two terms.

On the council, she presided over the establishment of a homeless shelter and increased funding for programs for the mentally ill and substance-addicted.

"She concentrated on issues that really affected people," said John McFadden, County Council vice chairman. "She moved the Human Services Department into a more responsive and responsible advocate for the people that department was supposed to serve."

Mrs. Arty-Majors was born in Philadelphia and lived most of her adult life in Springfield. She earned her nursing credentials at the Medical College of Pennsylvania and received a bachelor of science degree from West Chester University.

She is survived by her husband, Donald; two sons, Jim and John; a daughter, Janis Hamilton; a brother; and seven grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements are being made by Brown & Sons Funeral Home in Bradenton. Burial will be in Lakewood Memorial Park in Jackson, Miss.

Cynthia McGroarty's e-mail address is cmcgroarty@phillynews.com

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