‘Rosemary Durkin Initiative’ kicks off Sunday

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Former Youngstown Clerk of Courts Rosemary Durkin died April 6 at the age of 84.

She was considered a trailblazer in the political arena, becoming the first woman in Mahoning County to hold elected office. She was first elected in 1975 and was re-elected for three six-year terms, retiring in 1999.

And although she lived a very public life, she wanted her illness and death to be private. Complying with her wishes, her death was not announced until after the funeral service, which was attended only by family and close friends.

Her brother, Rick Durkin, said the family received hundreds of phone calls afterward, with people wanting to know how they could help the family and wanting to donate money in her honor.

That is how the family decided to establish “The Rosemary Durkin Initiative: A Legacy of Love.”

The non-profit organization will hold a kickoff Mass and breakfast starting at 9 a.m. Sunday at Mr. Anthony’s in Boardman. The event is free, but guests will be asked to donate to one of four agencies that were close to Durkin’s heart: The Difference Makers at St. Patrick Church in Hubbard, Sister Jerome’s Poor, the Beatitude House and St. Paul Monastery in Canfield.

Rick Durkin said The Difference Makers was chosen because Rosemary and St. Patrick’s pastor, Fr. Tim O’Neill, have been friends for many years and her former neighbor, Bob “Moon” Barrett and his wife, Carol, are on the board. He said the Beatitude House was chosen because it is run by the Ursuline nuns, and Rosemary was a graduate of Ursuline and two of her sisters are former Ursuline nuns.

He said Sister Jerome’s Poor was chosen because Rosemary and Sister Jerome Corcoran have been friends for more than 50 years and Sister Jerome spent a lot of time at the Durkin house. He said St. Paul Monastery was chosen because Rosemary attended Mass there daily after moving to a house on Diehl Lake in 2004.

“She was the matriarch of our family,” her sister, Sally, said of Rosemary, who was the oldest of eight children.

For more information on the event or to donate, call Rick Durkin at 330-547-9511.

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