A. Chambers, 94, party activist

Posted: June 28, 2001

Alice Corcoran Chambers, 94, a homemaker and loyal Democrat whose volunteer work for educational, social and political groups spanned a half-century, died of an apparent stroke Sunday at the home of her daughter in Bryn Mawr.

She formerly lived in West Chester, where she was an active Democratic Party worker, and the wife of one Democratic mayor and mother of another.

Her late husband, J. Herbert "Bertie" Chambers, was the borough's first Democratic mayor, serving from 1970 to 1977. Her son, Thomas, was also elected to several terms as mayor, holding office from 1978 to 1981 and again from 1986 to 1993.

Mrs. Chambers also served as a trustee of West Chester University for 10 years and was a board member of the Chester County Senior Citizens Council, St. Martha Manor Nursing Home, West Chester Community Center, AARP, the Health and Welfare Council of Chester County, Children's Services of Chester County, and the West Chester Community Center.

She also was a former member of the Brandywine Battlefield Commission.

Mrs. Chambers was involved in politics most of her adult life, her family said. She served as Democrat precinct committeewoman of West Chester's Eighth Precinct for 55 years, until she was in her 80s.

Her Democratic loyalties were evident at an early age. Her son Thomas Chambers this week told the family story that when President Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, visited West Chester in 1918, Chambers' mother, then 11, was selected to present the President with a dozen roses.

Chambers also recalled his mother taking him to Democratic party rallies, political meetings, and the opening of campaign headquarters when he was a boy.

At a time when Republicans held a commanding lead in voter registration in West Chester, Mrs. Chambers helped her husband win election in 1970 after five failed attempts. In 1982, she wrote a book about his tenure titled His Honor, the Mayor.

Her husband died in 1978 after 47 years of marriage.

In addition to her son Thomas, Mrs. Chambers is survived by son Daniel J., daughter Ellen C. Barton, 19 grandchildren, and 21 great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be at 6:30 p.m. today at St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church, 233 W. Gay St., West Chester, followed by a Funeral Mass at 8 p.m. Burial will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow in St. Agnes Cemetery, West Goshen.

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