Huntsville mourns loss of city's first councilwoman - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Huntsville mourns loss of city's first councilwoman

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Mabry died Thursday following a heart attack. She was 77. Mabry died Thursday following a heart attack. She was 77.
Mabry was the city's first woman to be elected to the council. Mabry was the city's first woman to be elected to the council.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Relatives remembered Huntsviile's trailblazing first city councilwoman Jane Mabry as "witty," "intelligent" and "indomitable" Friday night.

Mabry died Thursday at 77 after a heart attack.

Her brother, Bill Williams, said her desire to do the right thing and her love for Huntsville drove her into public service. "She thought it was the right thing to do.  She thought she was the right person for the job at the time," he recalled.

Mabry served on the city council for 14 years and, along the way, earned two masters degrees as one of only a handful of white students at Alabama A&M. "She didn't have any problems with glass ceilings," William said. "She liked to do that sort of thing.  She was kind of a rebellious sort from that standpoint." 

Williams described Mabry's first run for the city council, for which her relatives hand painted bumper stickers on shelf paper, as precisely that kind of challenge to skeptics which included him.  "I certainly said what are you doing with that?" he recalled.  "She was a mom  of 3 kids and  to decide to run for office it was just… It was pretty surprising.   And it was precedence." 

As a liberal on the council, Williams said Mabry disagreed with plenty of those around her, including him.  But he said her charm and caring endeared her even to her opponents.

"You could dislike, perhaps what her policy was but she was so personable  that you had to like her as a person."   

Mabry even achieved narrow losses in two runs for mayor, in 1980 and 1984.

"She loved Huntsville," he said.  "This was her home and she wouldn't' have it any other way.  She loved Huntsville.  And I think that came across to people."

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