NORMAN — Former Oklahoma City Mayor Patience Latting was a quiet trailblazer who lead the way for many women seeking political office. She lead Oklahoma City through boom times, luring such manufacturing heavyweights as General Motors and Xerox and the bust days of Penn Square Bank’s failure.
Mrs. Latting, mayor from 1971 to 1983, died at age 94 this past week. In 1971, she was elected as the first woman to serve as mayor of a city with a population greater than 350,000.
Her college background in mathematics and statistics, combined with volunteerism with the League of Women Voters lead her to work on redistricting state legislative districts.
Urban areas, with the population migration, were not properly represented at the state house. Collectively, rural legislators had more clout with far less population. In Mrs. Latting’s eyes, that was unfair. She testified as a witness before the federal court in the redistricting fight.
She had a quiet demeanor but was always studying municipal issues and was never unprepared. Many state communities, including Norman, have benefited from Mrs. Latting’s work and her legacy.