At the Scranton City Council meeting on January 23, Mayor Paige G. Cognetti and City Councilmembers issued a proclamation honoring Grace O’Malley Schimelfenig, the first woman to serve as a Scranton City Councilmember in the City’s history. Officials wanted to pay tribute to her legacy of trailblazing paths for women to participate and lead in local government.
Grace O’Malley Schimelfenig was elected to the Scranton City Council in 1974, and she served a four-year term as a member of the Community Development Committee. She led her party’s eight-candidate race with the most votes – 7,658 – in the general election.
For decades, Schimelfenig advocated for women in professional spaces, having served as a Board Member for the Lackawanna Commission for Women, former President of American Women in Radio and TV, the women’s division of the National Association of Broadcasters, and former President and Woman of the Year of the American Business Women’s Association. She also worked at WVIA-TV/FM and later served as the Borough Manager of Old Forge, PA and Fiscal Assistant for the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.
“It is essential that we recognize the women who paved the way in our city’s civic history,” said Mayor Cognetti. “Grace’s legacy merits recognition, and it is clear from her time on our City Council and record of public service that she is a powerful example for women wanting to be involved in their community and shape Scranton’s trajectory.”
Schimelfenig’s legacy has also had a direct impact on her family. Her daughter, Mari Pizur, is a proud member of the Rotary Club of Scranton. Pizur connected with Mayor Cognetti at a separate proclamation event for World Polio Day, and they realized the importance of celebrating her mom’s accomplishments and contributions to the city with this proclamation.
“We would like to thank the City of Scranton for recognizing our mom’s accomplishments,” said Pizur. “My brother and I were teenagers when she ran for City Council, and we didn’t realize until we were older that she was a trailblazer. She was just our mother.”
Proclamation requests can be made via an online form on the City’s website.
Last modified: January 23, 2024