UNION COUNTY, NJ – The Union County Commission on the Status of Women recently announced the recipients of the 2019 Women of Excellence Awards. 11 Union County women were cited for their outstanding contributions at the Jan. 24 meeting of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, including one from Springfield.

Kay Coats Macrae is a life-long resident of Union County. She spent her childhood in Union, married and raised a family in Westfield and recently moved to town. Macrae is being recognized for her many contributions to the theater arts.

“I was very pleased with the recognition for my theater work,” Macrae said. “In life, very often we do things because we can and we love doing them.”

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Born and raised in Union, New Jersey, Macrae is a product of the school system there. She attributes Her love for theater and music to her former music teacher, Gene Consales.

“He had a great influence on me and we maintained a friendship that lasted beyond school until his passing,” Macrae said. 

Macrae was also "Miss Union" and runner up for Miss New Jersey in Atlantic City. She remembers fondly traveling to the pageant in a convertible. In 1965, she became a member of the Westfield Community Players and performed in many shows.  For the past few years Macrae has been actively producing shows and is currently co-producing "Follies" which is scheduled to open in May.

While spending a lifetime in the arts, Macrae married and had two children, served as Cub Scout, Brownie and Girl Scout leader, plus president of several PTAs along the line. 

“I continued to sing in many venues, since I had a supportive husband, who, thank goodness, wasn't involved with theater,” Macrae exclaimed with a smile. “However, I always lived in Union County. So, having the honor given to me by them is so very special.”

Macrae is joined by 10 other women from Union County being recognized for their accomplishments by the Commission on the Status of Women are:

  • Amy Cairns of Summit, Government Service
  • Antonietta LaVecchia of Summit, Business/Community Activist
  • Clea Carchia of Rahway, Arts/Graphic Design
  • Dawn McDonald of Scotch Plains, Education
  • Dr. Julia Grimes of Westfield, Medicine/Health & Wellness
  • Iliana Chevres of Elizabeth, Special Needs Advocacy
  • Marlene Olson Hamm of Rahway, Environmental Advocacy
  • Mary Zimmermann of Summit, Lifetime Achievement
  • Michele Dabal of New Providence, Humanitarian Activities
  • Sandra Jackson of Linden, Youth Advocacy

The awardees will be honored at the annual Women of Excellence Gala Awards Dinner, to be held on March 29, 2019 at the Gran Centurions in Clark. Each awardee will be presented with an engraved Women of Excellence plaque and a Freeholder Resolution in their honor recognizing their impact on the Union County community.

The Women of Excellence awards are sponsored by the Freeholder Board and the Union County Commission on the Status of Women, with the Union County Office on Women.