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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lila Cockrell
Mayor of San Antonio
In office
June 1, 1989 – June 1, 1991
Preceded byHenry Cisneros
Succeeded byNelson Wolff
In office
May 1, 1975 – May 1, 1981
Preceded byCharles L. Becker
Succeeded byHenry Cisneros
San Antonio City Councilwoman
In office
In office
Personal details
Lila May Banks

(1922-01-19)January 19, 1922
Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.
DiedAugust 29, 2019(2019-08-29) (aged 97)
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Resting placeMission Burial Park North
San Antonio, Texas
Sidney Earl Cockrell Jr.
(m. 1941; died 1986)
Alma materSouthern Methodist University
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Battles/warsWorld War II

Lila May Banks Cockrell (January 19, 1922 – August 29, 2019) was an American politician, who served twice as mayor of San Antonio, Texas. During World War II, she served in the WAVES branch of the United States Navy. She served as President of the Dallas and San Antonio chapters of the League of Women Voters during the 1950s.[1][2]

Political career

After serving for a decade on the city council, including her 1969 service as the city's first woman mayor Pro Tem, Cockrell was elected in 1975 to the first of four two-year terms as Mayor of San Antonio. At the time of her inauguration, San Antonio's population gave her the status of the mayor over the largest American city being governed by a woman. She is often listed as the first woman in the United States to be elected mayor of a major metropolis. However, Bertha Knight Landes was mayor of Seattle 1926–1928.[3] Cockrell's first three terms ran consecutively 1975–1981. At the end of her third term, she chose not to run because of the illness of her husband Sidney Earl Cockrell Jr.[4] She was succeeded by Henry Cisneros. Widowed in 1986, she was elected to her fourth term as mayor in 1989 when Cisneros left office.[5]


After retiring from political office, Cockrell served on many municipal commissions and civic boards.[6] In 2013, she retired as president of the San Antonio Parks Foundation, a position she had held since 1998.[7]

Cockrell was a member of the Hot Wells Conservancy Board, which is working with the Bexar County Commissioners Court to restore the former Hot Wells hotel, spa, and bathhouses, which flourished in the first two decades of the 20th century. It is located along the San Antonio River in the southside of the city.[8]

On May 29, 2019 Cockrell was denied to vote in the 2019 San Antonio mayoral election because she lacked the required identification under Texas ID laws.[9] Many people in the San Antonio community as well as politicians such as Pete Buttigieg were outraged that Cockrell was denied to cast her ballot. The incident started up a controversy about Texas voter ID laws.[10][11] On May 31, 2019, Cockrell cast her vote in the election.[12]


Cockrell's Health declined in the time leading up to her death. Cockrell died at the age of 97 under hospice care on August 29, 2019[13] in her apartment in San Antonio, Texas. On September 3, 2019, a public visitation was held at Mission Park Funeral Chapel North. On September 5, 2019, a private memorial service and a public tribute were held at the Lila Cockrell Theatre.[14] Her final burial place is Mission Burial Park North in San Antonio.[15]


Lila Cockrell Theater in San Antonio, Texas
Lila Cockrell Theater in San Antonio, Texas

See also


  1. ^ "Lila Cockrell Records" (PDF). Municipal Archives and Records. City of San Antonio. Retrieved August 12, 2013.
  2. ^ Judith A. Leavitt (1985). American Women Managers and Administrators: A Selective Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth-century Leaders in Business, Education, and Government. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 47. ISBN 9780313237485.
  3. ^ Stein, Alan J (March 1, 2000). "Bertha Landes is elected mayor of Seattle on March 9, 1926". Retrieved August 12, 2013.
  4. ^ Ivins, Molly (2010). Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She?. New York: Vintage eBooks. pp. 203, 204. ISBN 978-0-3074-3441-8.
  5. ^ Petty, Kathleen (March 29, 2013). "Lila Cockrell Interview". San Antonio Magazine. Retrieved August 12, 2013.
  6. ^ "Lila Cockrell" (PDF). San Antonio Parks Foundation. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 24, 2010. Retrieved August 12, 2013.
  7. ^ Petty, Kathleen (April 2013). "Lila Cockrell The 91-year-old former mayor retires to write, not slow down". San Antonio Magazine. Retrieved August 12, 2013.
  8. ^ John W. Gonzalez (October 10, 2015). "Hot Wells poised to spring alive again: County OKs first phase of improvements for new park". San Antonio Express-News. pp. 1, A12.
  9. ^ Retrieved 30 December 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ "Pete Buttigieg". Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  11. ^ McGuinness, Dylan (31 May 2019). "San Antonio leaders, residents outraged after former mayor Lila Cockrell isn't allowed to vote". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  12. ^ Dimmick, Iris (31 May 2019). "Former Mayor Lila Cockrell Casts Ballot After ID Snag". Rivard Report. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  13. ^ "Lila May Banks Cockrell - View Obituary & Service Information". Lila May Banks Cockrell Obituary. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  14. ^ Dimmick, Iris (29 August 2019). "San Antonio Political Pioneer Lila Cockrell Dies at 97". Rivard Report. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  15. ^ Retrieved 20 January 2020. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. ^ "Lila Cockrell Theatre". Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. Retrieved August 12, 2013.
  17. ^ "Lila May Banks Cockrell". Texas Women's Hall of Fame. Texas Woman's University. Retrieved November 9, 2016.

External links

Preceded by
Henry Cisneros
Mayor of San Antonio
Succeeded by
Nelson Wolff
Preceded by
Charles L. Becker
Mayor of San Antonio
Succeeded by
Henry G. Cisneros
This page was last edited on 15 January 2021, at 13:06
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