The Newburgh community is mourning the loss of Frederica Warner, founder of Meals on Wheels of Greater Newburgh and a beloved lifelong city resident. She died Tuesday at the age of 101.
“Federica’s contributions to the community were endless,” said Mayor Torrance Harvey, “and the entire City mourns this great loss.”
The only child of E. Lafayette Hunter and Sarah Frint Hunter, Frederica was a descendant of freed slaves who helped organize the Underground Railroad and the Republican Party in the years preceding the Civil War. She was born on December 14, 1917.
At the age of ten, she became a member of Girl Scout Troop 7, sponsored by the AME Zion Church in Newburgh. The Scouts emphasized helping others and becoming active members of the community - goals which Frederica embraced wholeheartedly for the rest of her life.
Among her countless hours of community service over the years, she was best known as the founder and Executive Director Emeritus of Meals on Wheels of Greater Newburgh. She also served as a volunteer for, and was honored by, the Salvation Army of Newburgh, Orange County Women of Achievement, Newburgh YWCA, Human Rights Commission of Orange County, Habitat for Humanity, Orange Area United Fund, Liberty Street Day Care Center, McQuade Foundation, Amos & Sarah Holden Home, Town of Newburgh Republican Committee, New York State Church Women United, Church Women United to the United Nations, Orange County Professional Advisory Committee, Zonta International, Business & Professional Women’s Club, and Magenta Mammas Red Hatters.
In 2017, the City of Newburgh dedicated a portion of Roe Street from Fullerton Avenue to Newburgh Free Academy as Frederica Warner Way. During the dedication ceremony, she was quoted as saying, "I want Newburgh to shine; I want Newburgh to shine like it was; I want Newburgh to shine the way it did when I was a little kid, and nothing's impossible."
In December of 2017, at the occasion of her 100th birthday, she was honored by Orange County Executive Steven Neuhas, as his Citizen of the Month.
“Frederica was well respected, even revered, by those she worked with, those she helped and all whose lives she touched,” Neuhaus said. “She dedicated much of her life to serving her community and helping those less fortunate. Frederica was a kind and generous woman, and she will always be remembered for her contributions to the Newburgh community. My thoughts and prayers are with her family.”
Frederica was married for 65 years to the late Loren Warner. Their daughter and only child, Maxine Warner Burton, is the wife of Sir Eric Burton, former Member of Parliament of the Republic of Antigua-Barbuda in the West Indies. Frederica is the grandmother of seven, great-grandmother of 23 and great-great-grandmother of 10.
“Ms. Warner made the world a better place, and did so seeking nothing in return,” Harvey said. “As the season changes, and the sun continues to shine, the City of Newburgh encourages its residents to enjoy the brightness that is upon us and remember the words of Ms. Warner forever in our hearts and our minds.”
Visitation for family and friends will be held from noon to 5 p.m on Wednesday, April 17, at Calvary Presbyterian Church, corner of South Street and Grand Street, Newburgh. The funeral will take place Thursday at 10 a.m. at Calvary Presbyterian Church.
Memorial contributions may be made to Meals on Wheels of Greater Newburgh, P.O. Box 2615, Newburgh, N.Y. 12550.