Pat Russell,

City council woman, Pat Russell, with her nine male colleagues on way to Equal Rights Amendment meeting in Los Angeles, Calif., 1972 (Photo courtesy/UC Regents)

LOS ANGELES  - Pat Russell, a Los Angeles city councilwoman who represented Venice as part of her district from 1969 to 1987 and was the first woman to serve as president of the council, has died of cancer at the age of 97. Russell 

Russell died at her home on Thursday, according to the Los Angeles

Times, which said Russell's son reported her death on Facebook.`I adored her as Mom, but also as one of the most extraordinary persons I have ever known,'' he wrote, the Times reported.

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.

In 1969, she won a special election to represent the 6th Council District after the resignation of Councilman L.E. Timberlake. Her platform included opposition to the expansion of Los Angeles International Airport's land.

  The 6th Council district at that time 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.