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Former Phoenix Mayor Thelda Williams dies at 82

Former Phoenix Mayor Thelda Williams, who was a fixture in the city's government for more than three decades, has died. 

Williams was first elected to Phoenix City Council in 1989. She served as interim mayor three times, in 1994, from 2011 to 2012, and from 2018 to 2019.

Current Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said in a statement that Williams will be remembered for advocating to improve Sky Harbor Airport, the city’s water infrastructure and its transit system.

“Thelda Williams’s service to our city has touched and improved the lives of everyone who lives here,” Gallego said. “She cared deeply about Phoenix’s people and its future, and her legacy will endure far beyond our lifetimes.”

Phoenix City Council voted this spring to name the new transit hub at Metrocenter Mall after Williams.

Williams died Tuesday night after a brief battle with cancer. She was 82. City facilities will lower flags through next Tuesday in her honor.

Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent reporting on a variety of issues, including public health and climate change.