Rose Mofford, the first woman to server as Governor of Arizonia, has died. She passed away this morning at a hospice in Phoenix.
She was moved to a hospice as a precaution on August 31, after a serious fall at her home. She was recovering and “in good spirits” yesterday while recovering, but her health took a sudden turn for for the worse.
Mofford was 94:
Mofford, then secretary of state, took over the top office in 1988 after Gov. Evan Mecham was impeached for obstruction of justice and misuse of funds. Mofford was 94 years old.
Rose Mofford made history as Arizona’s first female governor, but her hairdo was equally legendary.
Well into old age, she continued to wear her trademark swirl of white hair piled high in a French roll that made her an easy caricature for political cartoonists, bobblehead makers and her own Christmas cards, and instantly recognizable as an Arizona icon.
She was the embodiment of old Arizona, where Republicans and Democrats could be civil and work together. She ran a tight, efficient office and is credited with bringing stability to the state at a rough time with grace and wit.
“When the state desperately needed healing, she stepped in,” recalled Athia Hardt, who served as Mofford’s press aide when she was suddenly catapulted to the Governor’s Office following Mecham’s impeachment. She called herself “Mother Mofford,” and fulfilled that role both as a stern parent, when needed, and as a caring individual, Hardt said.
Mofford retired in 1991 after 51 years in state government, but never lost interest in state affairs. “As recently as a few months ago, she was still calling on my cell phone every so often when she saw something in the newspaper she didn’t like or about something political,” Hardt said.
Mofford started in state government as a secretary, beginning right out of high school, and then tirelessly did charity work.
She lived in the same house near Central and Maryland avenues in Phoenix for 50 years, even through three years as governor when her security detail thought she would be better off somewhere else.
It was her neighborhood, she insisted. Her Arizona. Her people. Her home number was listed, and always had been. She lived by simple rules.
“Let your word be your bond,” Mofford said often. “If you say you are going to do something, do it, and don’t make excuses.
“Be a good listener. Learn to listen and to listen to people’s suggestions. Learn from the people around you.
“And treat everyone with dignity.”
Repotedly, Mofford once attributed her success to her “roots, religion and Rolodex.”
She started building up that paper Rolodex with her first job in state government in 1940, eventually collecting 4,000 names and addresses in four green metal Rolodexes. By 2011, she was down to just two Rolodexes and about 2,000 cards.
— Ruben Gallego (@RepRubenGallego) September 15, 2016
Former Arizona Governor Rose Mofford passes away at age 94. AZ’s first female governor. pic.twitter.com/l8jX5VQldj
— Troy Hayden (@troyhaydenfox10) September 15, 2016
RIP. Cactus League spring training as we know it would not exist if not for her efforts. https://t.co/15cZEP2cTc
— Jacob Pomrenke (@buckweaver) September 15, 2016
Let us pray for Mofford’s family during this difficult time. RIP.