A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. March 24 in St. Paul’s Cathedral, 128 Pearl St., Buffalo, for Bertha S. Laury, a retired associate dean of the School of Social Work, who died March 3 in her home in Las Vegas, where she had resided since 2007. She was 78.
A native of New York City, Laury earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Pain College in Augusta, Ga., and a master’s in social work from Atlanta University.
In the 1960s, she developed the first infant day care in Buffalo as director of social services for Booth Memorial Home and Hospital. She later served as the first president of the Buffalo Coalition for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention.
Laury continued her interest in helping to reduce teen pregnancy when she joined the UB social work faculty in 1972. As clinical associate professor and director of field education, she helped train hundreds of aspiring social workers.
In 1993, she was named associate dean for community relations and continued in that position until her retirement in 1996. She also taught at Erie Community College, Buffalo State College, Niagara University and at UB’s School of Policy and Management.
She was the first African-American woman to serve as president of the board of Health Care Plan and the first chairwoman of the Community Health Foundation of Western and Central New York. She also was a member of the executive board of the Western New York Coalition on Adolescent Pregnancy.
A member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, she received numerous awards, among them the Outstanding Leadership Award from the Jesse Nash Health Center.
She also was active in United University Professions, the union representing SUNY faculty and staff members, chairing the Buffalo Center Chapter’s Affirmative Action Committee