Dallas’ First Female Mayor Dies at 98

Adlene Harrison, Dallas' first female mayor, at her home in Dallas
Adlene Harrison, Dallas' first female mayor, at her home in Dallas | Image by Rose Baca / DMN Staff Photographer

The first woman to be elected Dallas Mayor has passed away at the age of 98, according to CBS 11 News.

Adlene Harrison’s family announced that she died of natural causes on February 19.

Harrison became Dallas’s first female mayor and the first female Jewish Mayor of any major city in the country in 1976. Harrison had been appointed as acting mayor when Wes Wise stepped down to run for congress.

According to the report by CBS 11 News, Harrison’s leadership style positioned her to play a key role in the creation of Dallas Area Rapid Transit. 

Harrison’s leadership style also made her a regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency.

Harrison was elected to the Dallas City Council on three occasions.

In an interview with CBS 11 News, former Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings described Harrison as “one of the great women of the city of Dallas.”

Rawlings told the station that Harrison saw the city through the whole century and understood what the city’s “secret sauce” was.

“She had no problem being in a room with anybody and telling them how the cow ate the cabbage,” Rawlings told CBS 11 News. “But she did it in a way that people really, really loved and wanted to be around her.”

Former Dallas City Council Member Jennifer Staubach Gates described Harrison as “a force to be reckoned with.”

“You felt supported by her, encouraged by her, and she was just so frank in her conversations,” Gates said.

Harrison’s husband died in 2012, but she is survived by her daughter.

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