ITHACA — She was one of the first women to broadcast news on the radio, during World War II. And that’s just one of many accomplishments Betty Allinger achieved during her time at Utica’s WIBX, and through her heavy involvement with a long list of community organizations outside of the workplace. Betty Allinger died over the weekend in Ithaca. She was 93. Calling hours are set for this afternoon in Utica, and a Funeral Mass is set to take place tomorrow morning in New Hartford.
Allinger was the wife of the late Utica radio personality Ralph Allinger, for whom the annual WIBX Heart Radiothon is named. Among the couple’s three sons: Chris Allinger, morning drive host at Ithaca’s Q-Country 103.7 (WQNY). Betty had been living in the Ithaca area, and was a frequent contributor on Chris’ show, he told CNYRadio.com.
Here’s the full obituary supplied by the Allinger family, with arrangement details near the bottom.
On March 27, 2010 Betty Cushing Griffin Allinger went to be with our Lord. She passed peacefully surrounded by her family at Hospicare in Ithaca, New York. A longtime resident of Longview at Ithacare, Betty was born in Albany, New York on September 5th, 1916. Her family moved to Utica in 1917. She was educated in Utica schools and graduated from Utica Free Academy in 1934. Betty then attended Leland Powers School of Theater and Radio in Boston Massachusetts, graduating n 1938. An accomplished actress, she began her radio career at WHDH in Boston. She was hired by WIBX in Utica, NY in August of 1939 and quickly became Director of Educational Programming for the station. During her tenure at WIBX, she was the voice of Munger’s Department Store. For 15 years Betty wrote, directed and produced radio dramatizations of the classics in literature for a program called “Youth Presents” which featured the acting of area high school students.
In the 1940’s, she was named Production Manager of WIBX and during the war years was an announcer and control room operator and became one of the first women newscasters on radio. In 1955, she married Utica radio personality, Ralph Allinger. They had three sons.
Throughout her life she served in many leadership roles including the board of the New York State FM network, she was the first woman to serve on the Board of Directors of the Utica YMCA and co-created the Mother’s Club. Betty also served on the Parish Council at Our Lady of the Rosary in Utica, was a charter member of the Catholic Syracuse Diocesan Pastoral Council. In Ithaca, she was an honorary recipient of the Twenty Outstanding Women You Should Know Award, was a volunteer for My Brother’s Keeper in Dryden NY and, into her 90’s, served as an officer on the Board of Directors of Longview at Ithacare.
Her lifelong love of working with youth led to many years of teaching public speaking at Our Lady of Lourdes in Utica, NY, the creation of the Notre Dame/Utica Catholic Academy Speech Club and, in her later years, working with the students at Ithaca College which included a feature role in the National Award winning “Cellflix” video “Assisted Living” by Zack Wilson.
Betty was predeceased by her husband of 16 years, Ralph C. Allinger Sr. and her parents, Charles L. and Elizabeth Cushing Griffin. She is survived by her children Ralph (Deborah) Allinger Jr., Michael (Sylvia) Allinger, Christopher (Brigid) Allinger, ‘adopted’ Leona Perreault; beloved grandchildren Amanda, Leila, Jesstina, Jessie-Emma, Zachary, Stephen and Stephanie; great grandchildren Anthony, Paige, Wyatt and Alyss. Betty is also survived by her cousin James Cushing of Phoenix, Arizona and many dear friends and colleagues.
Friends may call on Tuesday, March 30th from 4 to 7 PM at Heintz Funeral Home 1517 Whitesboro Street, Utica, NY. A Funeral Mass will be offered at Our Lady of the Rosary Church, Burrstone road, New Hartford, NY on Wednesday, March 31st at 10:00AM.
A memorial service is being planned for her Ithaca friends and colleagues. The place and date are to be determined. Please refer to www.centralnyobits.com and the Ithaca Journal.
In lieu of flowers, it is Betty’s wish that memorials be made to Longview, an Ithacare Community, 1 Bella Vista Drive, Ithaca, NY 14850.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Allinger family, as well as with Betty’s friends and colleagues in Utica and Ithaca.