|Obituary of Betty Flood, 85, trailblazing woman journalist in the LCA.|
|Betty Flood, a trailblazing woman journalist who spent seven decades covering the New York State Legislature, died Wednesday at Memorial Hospital where she was being treated after suffering a fall over the weekend at her Loudonville home. She was 83.|
A wake is scheduled for Monday at McVeigh Funeral Home, 208 North Allen St., Albany, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., with a funeral Mass on Tuesday, December 20, St. Pius Church, Crumite Road, Loudonville, 10:30 a.m.
Betty, whose married name was Elizabeth Flood Morrow, was born Elizabeth Marie Gaucas, the daughter of Mrs. and Mrs. Bernard Relf Gaucas of Albany. She was predeceased by her husband Gerald Morrow, an Albany food broker and businessman; her brothers John and Joseph Gaucas; and sisters, Ann Gaucas Crounse, Mrs. Charles Barnes and Catherine Gaucas.
She was a graduate of the Academy of Holy Names and attended Russell Sage College.
She was a mentor to countless young women who worked in her office as her reporting assistants at Cuyler News Service, and was a fixture in the Capitol as the longest tenured Albany journalist. She began by covering Gov. Averell Harriman in 1957 and continued to come to work at the Capitol pressroom until two weeks ago.
She covered the administrations of nine successive governors, including both Gov. Mario Cuomo and his son Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Her profiles included a 1981 New York magazine cover story "The Governor's Lady," about Gov. Hugh Carey's wife Evangeline.
Betty was a sharp questioner of politicians at press conferences. In April, she was among the reporters packed shoulder to shoulder in a cramped press pen at Donald Trump's raucous pre-primary rally that filled the Times Union Center.
She worked as a reporter for years at the Capitol before women were permitted to become members of the Legislative Correspondents Association, primarily writing for financial and trade publications. She was interviewed by The New York Times in 2008 for a story on the hard times the news business was beginning to experience.
“I worked for The American Banker. Gone,” she told the Times. "I worked for The Bond Buyer. They’re gone, too."
In 1966, she co-founded the Women's Press Club of New York. The group advances the professional interests of women in the media and communications professions, and awards scholarships to aspiring women journalists. The club renamed its scholarship award to honor Flood a few years ago.
After starting the club, she organized a public debate and scholarship fundraiser in 1971 on the topic of "Women's Liberation -- What Else?" with Barney Fowler, a columnist for the Times Union who was introduced as "a leading male chauvinist of the Albany press corps." His debate opponent was author Betty Friedan, the co-founder and first president of the National Organization for Women.
Beside covering the Legislature, Betty wrote for years for Fairchild Publications, Women's Wear Daily and many other publications. She also chronicled the Saratoga social scene in August and made many lifelong friendships as a result. She was a patron of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame and helped restore Ten Broeck Mansion in Albany. In recent years she was an antiques dealer on the side, selling collectibles in a shop in Ballston Spa.