Ann Uccello, Connecticut’s first female mayor, dies at 100


“She had a remarkable spirit and energy, and she leaves a lasting legacy in Connecticut’s capital.”

Former Hartford Mayor Antonina “Ann” Uccello announces that she is seeking the Republican nomination for the 1st Congressional District seat left vacant by the death of Representative William R. Cotte on December 7, 1981. Stephen Dunn/Hartford Stream via AP

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Antonina “Ann” Uccello, the first woman to be elected mayor of Connecticut when she won an upset victory as a Republican in Hartford in 1967, has died. She was 100 years old.

Uccello, who later served in the Nixon, Ford and Carter administrations, died of natural causes Sunday night at a Hartford hospital, said Jacqueline Gustafson, who was married to Uccello’s nephew David Gustafson.

“She just had remarkable intelligence, resilience and determination,” Jacqueline Gustafson, of West Hartford, said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “He was someone I looked up to a lot. … Ann was always someone I could talk to.

Tributes from the state’s political leaders poured in Tuesday afternoon as news of Uccello’s passing began to circulate.

“Ann Uccello was a trailblazer who was born and raised in Hartford and dedicated her career in public service to the city she loved,” Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont said in a statement. “She had a remarkable spirit and energy, and she leaves a lasting legacy in Connecticut’s capital.”

Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz, also a Democrat, said Uccello broke glass ceilings in Connecticut’s political arena and then was one of the most senior women in the Nixon administration – as director Consumer Affairs at the Ministry of Transport. She continued to work in the Department of Transportation under Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.

“I admired his groundbreaking work as mayor of Hartford,” Bysiewicz said in a statement. “She leaves a legacy that has inspired and will continue to inspire generations of women to pursue careers in politics and public service.”

Uccello, who has a street named after him in Hartford, served on the city council from 1963 to 1967 after working as a high school history teacher and in managerial positions at the G. Fox department store. In a heavily Democratic city, she defeated incumbent Mayor George Kinsella in the 1967 election and won re-election two years later.

As mayor, she was best known for comforting townspeople and helping prevent riots after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, according to the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame, where she was inducted in 1999. She also worked to protect children from lead poisoning and helped create low- and moderate-income housing, according to the Hall of Fame.

Uccello also ran for the 1st Congressional District in the Hartford area in 1970, but lost a close race to Democrat William Cotter before taking the job at the Department of Transportation.

Uccello was one of five daughters of immigrants from Sicily, Italy. After graduating from high school and then from a private Catholic college, she did graduate work at Trinity College in Hartford and the University of Connecticut School of Law.

She was a devout Christian and never married, Jacqueline Gustafson said.

Gustafson said she once asked Uccello why she never married and Uccello replied, “I have never met a man who deserved so much happiness.”

Gustafson said Uccello’s funeral is scheduled for next week and she will be buried at historic Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hartford, the final resting place of many notable Hartford residents and natives, including actress Katharine Hepburn. .


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