Elders and their caregivers had a dedicated advocate in geriatric nurse practitioner Ora M. DeJesus (1927-2000). Ora was a compassionate clinician, skilled nursing facility manager, university professor, and first executive director of The Gerontology Center at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMD).
A stitcher in various New Bedford shops, Dora Bastarache (1915-1988) was a true rank-and-file leader in the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union in southeastern Massachusetts, where she served as president of that union’s Local 361.
Hailed as “the first woman of South Coast politics,” Margaret “MarDee” Xifaras (1945-2019), New Bedford lawyer and stalwart Democrat, was a driving force behind creation of the state’s first public law school, the University of Massachusetts School of Law in Dartmouth.
Deeply rooted in her Azorean heritage, Dr. Mary T. Vermette (1934-2003) worked with the Azorean Maritime Heritage Society and the New Bedford Whaling Museum to promote Azorean culture and the shared whaling heritage between New Bedford and the Azores.