During a ceremony during the council meeting on Nov. 14, the chambers were named in honor of Natalie “Marge” Strange, who passed away a year and a day before.
Strange, a resident of the Eddington-Cornwells section of the township, was Bensalem’s first employee, hired as township secretary on March 18, 1956. She moved on to be assistant township manager, township manager and chief of police, until her first retirement in 1985.
She then became the first director of administration under Mayor Ed Burns until 1990, when she retired again. Strange was rehired by Mayor Joe DiGirolamo in 1998 to work in building and planning, then the mayor’s office. She became the municipal clerk in 2007 and served on the zoning hearing board and township council over the years.
“She was a marvelous woman … very strong, very opinionated to me when I was wrong,” DiGirolamo said. “She always made sure that we worked together and I always valued her opinion very, very much.
“All you had to do was look at her and she smiled at you.”
Members of Strange’s family were present for the dedication, including her son James Strange, daughter-in-law Pam Strange, grandson James Strange Jr. and her great grandchildren.
“She loved this place,” Pam Strange said. “I think she’d be happy. She never wanted anyone to fuss over her, but this is fitting. She deserves it.”
During the short ceremony, the words “Bensalem Township Council Chambers Dedicated in Memory To Natalie ‘Marge’ Strange” were unveiled, etched over the entrance to the chambers. Strange’s family was also presented with a plaque of her photo and name with “Our Little Margie” and “A Woman of Substance” engraved beneath.
Members of council paid tribute to Strange, who for most of them was a source of advice and counsel as they were learning to govern in Bensalem.
“She knew more about this township than anybody … she always had a kind word to say, a smile on her face,” Councilman Tony Belfield said. “She really was Ms. Bensalem in so many ways.”