Niagara County Democrats remember Ida Massaro

October 14th, 2017

Niagara County Democrats remember Ida Massaro

John LaFalce enjoyed a successful and lengthy tenure as a member of the U.S. Congress in a stint that spanned 28 years. 

He said it all started with one person - Ida Massaro. 

It was the former Niagara Falls teacher, New York State Parks Commissioner and staunch advocate for the local Democratic Party whom LaFalce said first encouraged him to run for Congress back in 1974. 


In fact, LaFalce said, Massaro was one of only two people - other than members of the press - who showed up for his first Congressional campaign announcement that year. 

LaFalce, who went on to represent Niagara Falls as a member of Congress from 1975 to 2003, said he always appreciated Massaro's loyalty and her willingness to support him, both personally and professionally, over the years.  

"Ida was one of my most loyal supporters and longtime friends. She was tremendous," LaFalce said. 

Massaro, who worked as an English teacher in the Niagara Falls School District for more than 35 years and who was a former chairperson of both the Niagara Falls and Niagara County Democratic committees, passed away on Thursday. She was 75. 

While she was known professionally for her work as a teacher and known locally as a valued supporter of local political campaigns, LaFalce described Massaro as a people-person first, noting that she was especially proud of her Italian-American heritage, her work with area students and her involvement in the lives of others, especially friends and members of her family. 

"Her roots and her family mattered most in Ida's mind and she was loyal to her friends," LaFalce said. "It was important for her to have friends and that they knew they had a friend in her." 

Massaro was also remembered as a woman who devoted much of her time and energy to helping young people in the Falls where she began her career as a teacher in 1968. She worked at North Junior High School, Trott Vocational, and LaSalle Senior High school until her retirement in 2003. 

During that time she was a teacher leader, as well as a student role model, serving as a department chair, an officer in the teachers' union and a class advisor to several classes. She was also an avid supporter of the LaSalle High School basketball team.

In 2011, until time of her passing, she also served as a Tier III interventionist in the Primary Enhancement Program at 79th Street school where she was responsible for providing children in grades K-4 with literacy intervention services.


Maria Massaro, human resources administrator for the Niagara Falls School District, said Ida was at first hesitant to accept her new role but soon became a valued mentor to many students, including one who did not know his letters when he started kindergarten who is now reading at a fifth-grade level.

"This is a true testament to why as an educator she will be missed by the staff and students of our district and the community as a whole," Maria Massaro said. 

A graduate of Niagara Falls High School, Ida went on to obtain a master's degree in education from Niagara University before getting her first teaching job. In addition, she served for eight years as a legislative aide for former state Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte, D-Niagara Falls. 

LaFalce was one of many local Democrats who enjoyed successful campaigns at least in part due to her efforts as a campaign supporter and volunteer. 

Outside of political circles, Ida was active in many organizations, including the Tatler Club, the College Club of Niagara Falls, the New York State United Teachers and Friends of the Niagara Falls Library. She was also a past member of the Niagara Falls Human Rights Commission and served as a commissioner for New York State Parks.  

"Ida’s service to her community and of course the Niagara Region of the New York State Parks will be remembered forever," said Cindy Letro, chairwoman of the Niagara Region of New York State Parks. "Her love of Niagara Falls was obvious in everything she did and she will certainly be missed by our commission and no doubt, countless others."

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