By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Pat Russell, the first woman to serve as president of the Los Angeles City Council, has died of cancer at the age of 97.

An undated photo of Pat Russell, center, the first woman to serve as president of the Los Angeles City Council.

Russell died at her home on Feb. 11, according to the Los Angeles Times, which said Russell’s son reported her death on Facebook.

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Pat Russell was born in Portland, Oregon, and earned a teaching credential from UCLA after receiving her bachelor’s degree at the University of Washington.

Prior to her service on the council, she was president of the Los Angeles City League of Women Voters from 1963 to 1965 and then of the Los Angeles County League from 1966 to 1968.

Russell served as an L.A. city councilwoman from 1969 to 1987. In 1969, she won a special election to represent the 6th Council District after the resignation of Councilman L.E. Timberlake.

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The district included the LAX area, Westchester, Playa del Rey, Venice and Baldwin Hills. Russell was elected to her first full term in 1971, and re-elected repeatedly until 1987, when she lost to Ruth Galanter.

The fourth woman elected to the council, Russell was elected council president in July 1983, the first woman to hold the second-most-powerful position in the city.

During her long time on the council, Russell sponsored noise regulations for LAX, helped establish more child-care centers, advocated for the Metro rail subway project, authored a measure requiring developers in much of her district to help pay for transportation improvements before their projects could be built, and helped transfer responsibility for investigating shootings involving the Los Angeles Police Department from the LAPD to the district attorney.

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(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)