SALT LAKE CITY — Deedee Corradini, Salt Lake’s first and only woman mayor, died Sunday. A non-smoker, Corradini was diagnosed with lung cancer in July, but her illness did not become public until February. She was 70 years old.
In an interview with KSL NewsRadio last month, Corradini said she was in the fight of her life and she asked for privacy.
Corradini's family released the following statement following her death:
“Our amazing mother, wife, sister, aunt, friend, and mentor, died today at her home in Park City, surrounded by the light, love, and gratitude of her loved ones. She fought a fierce six-month battle with stage 4 metastasized non-small cell lung cancer (the non-smoking type).
Our lives will never be the same without her, yet we celebrate her legacy with such joy. We feel her grace, and know she will continue to guide us deeply though her courageous spirit and extraordinary light that lives within us all."
Corradini served as mayor of Salt Lake City from 1992 to 2000. During her tenure, she finalized Salt Lake’s bid to host the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Corradini accepted the Olympic flag on behalf of Salt Lake City in Nagano, Japan, in 1998 and was the first woman to bring home an Olympic flag.
As the city’s 32nd mayor, she also helped secure approval and funding for Salt Lake’s initial TRAX light rail line and also pushed for the relocation of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks, which divided the city.
In addition, she aided approval for the funding of Salt Lake’s massive I-15 reconstruction, prior to the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
Corradini also approved the controversial sale of the Main Street Plaza area to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
She spurred construction of the Gateway project, as well as a new stadium for Salt Lake’s professional baseball team.
She had also worked to revitalize the downtown area through public-private partnerships.
Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, who had worked with Corradini before she held office, described her as “a ball of energy.”
When Corradini had a goal in mind, whether it was for the city, securing the 2002 Winter Games or working to ensure women’s Nordic ski jumping was recognized as an Olympic sport, “she pursued it until she was successful with it.”
While mayor, Corradini came under scrutiny for soliciting more than $200,000 in cash gifts and loans to pay off $805,000 for her part in the failure of Bonneville Pacific, a publicly traded alternative energy corporation that went bankrupt on inflated financials in 1991. She faced no criminal charges in connection with the events.
Corradini had said that eight years was enough as mayor and that it was time for something else and did not seek re-election.
After leaving public life, Corradini moved to Greenville, S.C., where she was a professor at Furman University. While, there she got to carry the Olympic torch, headed for Salt Lake City, in late 2001.
After her brief college career, she became Senior Vice President for Prudential Utah Real Estate. She also took a lead role to help women’s ski jumping get into the Winter Olympic Games.
She was born in Providence, Rhode Island.
Corradini attended school in Lebanon and Syria for 11 years as a child. She graduated from the University of Utah with a master's degree in psychology and had also attended Drew University in Madison, N.J.
She was press secretary to both Utah congressman Wayne Owens and Rep. Richard Ottinger of New York in the early 1970s.
She had also had a part-time position as Distinguished Senior Fellow in Urban Studies at the Riley Institute of Government, Politics and Public Leadership at Furman University in Greenville, S.C.
Corradini had also served as the President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in 1998.
She married John Huebner in 1999.
In recent years, Corradini had worked with an effort led by the YWCA of Salt Lake to encourage more women to run for public office.
She and former state Rep. Sheryl Allen were Utah's delegates to Vision 2020, a national initiative to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the women's suffrage movement.
"My concern has always been that there are not enough women in public office. I'm just thrilled to be working with all these different parties to come together to make a serious effort in Utah," Corradini said at the time.
Peter Corroon, chairman of the Utah Democratic Party, responding to news of Corradini's death, offered this statement: "Deedee Corradini was equally known as the mayor who championed bringing the Olympics to Utah, a successful businesswoman and a champion for women's rights. I had the good fortune of supporting Mayor Corradini's efforts to bring women's ski jumping to the Olympics. I saw a woman with passion and dedication. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family."
CONTRIBUTING: Lynn Arve