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Alice Kryzan, former congressional candidate, succumbs to cancer

By Howard B. Owens

Alice Kryzan, an environmental attorney from Amherst who campaigned hard in 2008 in an attempt to become Genesee County's representative in Congress, died Saturday.

She was 63.

Kryzan lost a battle with cancer and according to friends, died peacefully at her home.

A native of Youngstown, Ohio, Kryzan lost in a three-way race with Jack Davis and Chris Lee in 2008. 

Kryzan's full obituary after the jump (click on the headline):

ALICE KRYZAN, 63, environmental attorney and congressional candidate

AMHERST, NY –Alice Kryzan Berger, environmental attorney and congressional candidate, died of cancer peacefully at home on Saturday, June 2, in Amherst, where she lived for 33 years.

Alice was born on July 19, 1948, in Youngstown, OH, one of two children of Carolyn and Judge Frank X. Kryzan, who served as mayor of Youngstown from 1954 to 1960.

In 2008, Alice was the Democratic congressional candidate from New York’s 26th District, after winning a three-way primary.  Alice also was the Democratic candidate for Amherst Town Supervisor in 2009.

Alice was known for her commitment to public service, sense of humor, integrity, determination, intellectual passion, and devotion to family and friends.

She graduated from Ursuline High School in Youngtown in 1966.  She received her B.A. from Trinity University in Washington, DC, in 1970.  In 1973, she received her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, where she was one of only twenty women in her graduating class.  At the University of Chicago she met her husband, Robert S. Berger, emeritus Professor of Law at the University at Buffalo Law School.  

After law school, Alice worked at a small law firm and then at the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, where she helped provide a voice to those who needed it most.  After moving to Amherst in 1978, Alice worked at Phillips Lytle, where she became the first woman partner at what was then the largest law firm in Buffalo.  She went on to manage the Buffalo office of Whiteman, Osterman, and Hanna, and after leaving the firm, Alice continued to practice environmental law before retiring in 2005.

Alice also had a distinguished record of community service.  She was the Chair of the Board of Planned Parenthood of Buffalo and Erie County from 1998-2000, after years of service as a volunteer on various committees and as a Board Member.  She also served on the Steering Committee and was Treasurer of The Women’s TAP Fund, which raises money for pro-choice women candidates for state and local office.   Alice served on the Board of The Western New York Women’s Fund, a collaborative project of the United Way and the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo that helps women and girls achieve economic self-sufficiency.  A lifelong environmentalist, she served as a Board Member of New York Parks & Trails and served as the chair of both the Erie County Bar Association Environmental Law Committee and the New York State Bar Association Environmental Law Section.

Alice is survived by her husband, Robert; son, Sam; sister, Carol (Thomas) Ward; brother-in-law Stuart (Debbie) Berger; and eight nieces and nephews, Jill (Charles Zaccaria), Adam (Amanda) and Matt (Elizabeth) Ward, and David, Jennifer, Charles (Christi), Kathleene and Tracey Berger.

Family and friends will celebrate her life on June 25, at the Mary Seaton Room at Kleinhans Music Hall, 3 Symphony Circle, Buffalo, NY 14201.  Those wishing to pay their respects are invited to attend the ceremony at 1pm, or a reception to follow from 2-4pm.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to Girls Education Collaborative, PO Box 2191, Buffalo, NY 14231 or Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Tri-Province Development Program, PO Box 157, 1531 Greenspring Valley Road, Stevenson, MD 21153.

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