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Former Oklahoma City Mayor Patience Latting dies at age 94

Friends and peers remembered Patience Latting on Sunday as the moral compass that guided Oklahoma City long after she left politics.
By BRYAN DEAN and STEVE LACKMEYER Published: December 30, 2012
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In 1971, she became the first female mayor of an American city of more than 350,000 people. The first years of her tenure continued to include struggles with the anti-reform council majority.

Once when she was out of town and a councilman from the opposing faction was presiding over a council meeting, the anti- Latting bloc threw out all her nominations to city boards and commissions. Instead, they reappointed incumbents. Those efforts were later credited with giving Latting the support she needed to help followers win a majority at the next municipal elections.

Cory said she admired Latting greatly for the grace she showed while fighting her political battles.

“She was so refined,” Cory said. “She was just the epitome of being a lady. She was very intelligent. She didn't talk haphazardly. Everything she said meant something. She was an incredible influence in my life. She taught me a lot about ethics and doing what is right.”

Oklahoma City went through enormous change and growth during Latting's time as mayor. Her tenure included a comprehensive master development plan. The city's manufacturing base grew during her time in office with the addition of thousands of jobs at new plants built by Xerox and General Motors. Hundreds of downtown buildings were razed, and new skyscrapers took their place as part of the ongoing Urban Renewal effort under Latting's leadership.

When Latting announced in 1983 that she would not run for a fourth term, her fellow city officials praised her integrity and grace.

“She didn't pick people who would kowtow to her,” then-Ward 8 Councilman Robert M. Frank said. “She always selected people who would exercise independent judgment. I've always been a great admirer of her honesty. Although we didn't always agree, no one ever questioned her integrity.”

Latting was named to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1980 and received the Constitution Award from Rogers State College in 1995 for her dedication to public service and devotion to constitutional ideas.

A bust of Latting was unveiled at the entrance to the mayor's office at City Hall in 2005. In 2011, Latting was honored with the city's newest library, NW 122 and MacArthur Avenue, being named the Patience Latting Library. She attended the opening ceremony in May.

She was involved in numerous volunteer organizations after retiring from public life, including The Support Center of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Beautiful and the Oklahoma Heritage Association.

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