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Monday, November 5, 2007

Grace S. OrlanskyPolitical Activist

Grace Suydam Orlansky, 82, a retired official with the National Women's Political Caucus, an organization that promotes the election of women, and a longtime civic activist, died Oct. 22 at her home in Bethesda. She had leukemia.

Mrs. Orlansky worked for the caucus from 1975 to 1991, chiefly as assistant executive director. She later did volunteer work for the Maryland Women's Political Caucus.

Over the years, she maintained a leading role in such civic organizations as the League of Women Voters of Montgomery County and in Democratic Party political affairs. She was a Maryland delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1972 and 1976.

Mrs. Orlansky won awards from nearly all the organizations she served for community outreach and encouraging voter awareness of global issues.

She was a native of Queens, N.Y., and a 1945 graduate of Queens College, where she majored in English.

She received a master's degree in industrial psychology from New York University in 1952, after spending four years at Dunlap and Associates, a research and consulting business.

Mrs. Orlansky moved to Stamford, Conn., where she became involved in the League of Women Voters and was executive assistant to then-Mayor J. Walter Kennedy, a future commissioner of the National Basketball Association.

She settled in the Washington area in 1960 and became gift shop coordinator in Georgetown for the United Nations Association of the U.S.A.

She was a former president of the Women's Suburban Democratic Club in Montgomery County and was vice chairman of the Maryland Fair Campaign Finance Commission in the late 1970s. She was also involved in efforts to pass fair housing legislation.

She was a research and editorial assistant for a comprehensive history of Montgomery County, "A Grateful Remembrance" (1976), written by Ray Eldon Hiebert and Richard K. MacMaster.

Her first marriage, to Warren Chan, ended in divorce. Her second husband, Jesse Orlansky, whom she married in 1952, died in 1998.

Survivors include two daughters from her second marriage, Susan Orlansky of Anchorage and Karen Orlansky of Takoma Park; a stepson, Michael Orlansky of Santiago, Chile; a sister; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

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