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A look back at Schenectady Mayor Owen M. Begley

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A look back at Schenectady Mayor Owen M. Begley

Mayor Owen M. Begley supports women raising funds to fight heart disease. The woman at right places a support pin on the mayor's lapel. (Daily Gazette file photo)
Mayor Owen M. Begley supports women raising funds to fight heart disease. The woman at right places a support pin on the mayor's lapel. (Daily Gazette file photo)

Dark-haired Owen M. Begley had a great smile.

We're not sure how often Begley smiled behind closed doors during his tenure as Schenectady mayor. But when a photographer was around, ol' Owen turned up the brights on his pearly whites.

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Schenectady Mayor Owen M. Begley (fifth from the left) stands with local civic and military leaders during Schenectady's Armed Forces Day parade on May 20, 1950.

Begley was born May 16, 1906, in Schenectady and decided to make law his career.

He graduated from Union College and Albany Law School and eventually was admitted to the bar. He practiced in his hometown.

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Schenectady Mayor Owen M. Begley sits down for a dinner engagement during his time in office.

Politics became part of the man's life in 1932 and 1933, when he ran as a Democrat for a seat in the New York State Assembly. Both times, he was defeated by Republican Oswald D. Heck.

Begley worked as assistant New York attorney general from 1935 to 1942 and served in the Army during World War II.

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Schenectady's Chamber of Commerce threw a dinner party for General Electric's Charles E. Wilson on Oct. 19, 1949. Preparing for plates at the Hotel Van Curler are (from left) retiring chamber President Archibald C. Wemple; Wilson; guest speaker Bruce Barton; Schenectady Mayor Owen M. Begley Jr.; chamber President Albert F. Martin Jr.; and General Electric Vice President and toastmaster Robert S. Peare.

Begley became the people's choice in 1948, when he began his first term as Schenectady mayor. He was aware of the honor — and responsibility — that came with the office.

"I hope that in the performance of the duties of that office," Begley said during his swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 1, 1948, "I will prove worthy of the confidence that you people of Schenectady have placed in me."

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Owen M. Begley takes the oath of office and becomes Schenectady's new mayor on Jan. 1, 1948. From left are wife Ann Lynch Begley, brother Leo W. Begley and daughter Nancy Mae Begley.

Begley's second term ended in late 1951. He later served in the state Senate from 1958 to 1965.

He died September 24, 1981, at his home in Schenectady. He was 75.