LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Mervyn M. Dymally, former Lieutenant Governor of California, passed away Sunday in Los Angeles. He was 86.
His wife, Alice Gueno Dymally, said in a statement, “My beloved husband of 44 years passed away very peacefully this morning at 6:30 a.m.,” said his wife Alice Gueno Dymally. “He lived a very extraordinary life and had no regrets.”
Dymally was a native of Trinidad and Tobago.
He served in the California State Assembly from 1963 to 1966 and the California State Senate from 1967 to 1975.
Dymally was the state’s 41st Lt. Governor from 1975 to 1979. He was one of the first black men in the United States elected to statewide office since the days of Reconstruction.
Dymally, born May 12, 1926, also served more than a decade in Congress from 1981 to 1993.
After being out of the public eye for a decade, Dymally returned to the State Assembly from 2002-2008.
Congresswoman Janice Hahn issued a statement Sunday evening. “Mervyn Dymally was an icon, a legend, and one of the most loved and revered leaders in all of California. He was a fierce advocate for his constituents as a state legislator, member of congress, and as California’s 41st lieutenant governor. He was a man of strong principles and values. We will always be grateful for his leadership in the building of MLK Hospital in Watts. He’s always been a mentor and a friend. Mervyn will surely be missed.”
Gavin Newsom, the current Lt. Governor, issued a statement Sunday evening, as well. “It is with great sadness that I learn of the passing of former Lieutenant Governor Mervyn Dymally. A trailblazer in every sense of the word, Merv served many firsts in his 50-year political career, establishing a path for future generations of African Americans to follow. A true civil rights leader, he was also instrumental in passing one of the nation’s first gay rights bills in 1975. He fought tirelessly for economic and humanitarian aid for Africa, long before it became a cause celebre. His dedication to public service continued when he left politics and his legacy will be long remembered. My thoughts and prayers are with the Dymally family.”
Funeral arrangements were pending.