Featured News - Current News - Archived News - News Categories

Obituary: June E. Licence

Sat, May 25th 2024 11:15 am

June E. Licence, of Grand Island, age 85, died May 19, 2024. She was the beloved lifelong companion of Roger A. Cook; and the loving daughter of the late John and Crystal Licence.

June lived a life of kindness, simplicity and compassion. She received her BA from Central Michigan University in 1960, where she was class valedictorian and was awarded a Woodrow Wilson Scholarship. In 1967, she enrolled in the UB graduate school and continued her Master’s work there.

Her home on Grand Island was the center of her life. There she enjoyed sunsets over the Niagara, birds at the feeder, backyard wildlife, canning and soup-making, her cats, hosting an annual Labor Day Sunday gathering of musicians and friends, and sharing special times with her beloved companion, Roger. She was the dedicated treasurer of her Grand Island Riverside-Salem congregation and a participant in their social justice and peace programs. She was also an active member of the local book club and her women’s Ping-Pong group.

June was a justice and peace activist. Arrested in a peaceful demonstration at the 1967 anti-Vietnam war march on the Pentagon, she continued to protest the war with a group of Quakers in the Lorton women’s detention facility for 10 days. After the Attica Prison rebellion in 1971, June joined the Attica Brothers Defense Team and, in 1975, was named executive assistant to professor Herman Schwartz, the commissioner of corrections. While there, she developed a comprehensive prisoner grievance mechanism for the Attica facility.

In 1980, June was named executive assistant to the chair of the UB American studies department. While there, she organized and coordinated prisoner education programs in state prison facilities, taught by UB faculty. She also organized graduate students to collect and edit articles written by prisoners for the Concrete Gardens Journal. In 1991, she and the students organized a major Attica commemorative conference that brought together academicians, state officials, prison reformers, and folk musician Pete Seeger.

Upon retirement, June remained active, planning the annual “World on Your Plate” conference with her good friend, Eveline Hartz. This event, dedicated to food justice and alternatives to agribusiness, featured keynoters such as Frances Moore Lape and local activist Walter Simpson. Over the last few years, she also dedicated her time, money and talent to creating the Peace Education Fund, a grant program to assist peace activists to set up community alternatives to violence, restorative justice programs, and world peace advocacy.

There are no prior visitations. A celebration of June’s life will be held at her and Roger’s West River home on Labor Day weekend, Sunday, Sept. 1. Charitable contributions in June’s memory may be made to the Riverside-Salem Peace Education Fund, Box 207, Grand Island, NY 14072.

Please share your online condolences at www.KolanoFuneralHome.com.

Hometown News

View All News