She was 97.
Cockrell was first elected in 1975 and served three terms, before running again in 1989 and serving her final term. Before earning the distinction of being San Antonio's first female mayor, Cockrell served on city council for a decade. During her time on that body, she helped organize Hemisfair '68 and brought Valero Energy's headquarters to San Antonio.
"I don't think she gets proper credit for ushering in an era of equal representation," Nirenberg said in a statement to KENS 5. "She really did bridge the gap into the single-member district era. There would be no modern San Antonio without her leadership through that transition."
Following her time on council, Cockrell was the president of the San Antonio Parks Foundation from 1998 to 2013. She was honored for her years of service to the Alamo City when a theater inside the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center was renamed after her.
Nirenberg's full statement can be read below:
If there were a Mount Rushmore for our city, Lila Cockrell would be on it. She was a great San Antonian.Other local politicians have chimed in on Twitter to remember the iconic local leader.
I deeply valued our friendship, which started through a mutual appreciation for jazz music, the arts and our environment. Lila’s generosity with her time, knowledge and insight was incredibly helpful.
She was a consummate statesman. She exuded class and never involved herself in the pettiness of politics despite all of the years that she was in the center of political life in San Antonio. She was a stellar role model for young women and young men.
I don’t think she gets proper credit for ushering in an era of equal representation. She really did bridge the gap into the single-member district era. There would be no modern San Antonio without her leadership through that transition.
Lila Cockrell was a towering beacon in San Antonio, a woman who defined what it is and what it means to devote yourself to the service of others. She is an inspiration to all of us. My condolences to her family and loved ones. Our city will miss her.— Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) August 29, 2019
Former Mayor Lila Cockrell was a true servant leader and a role model for all who followed in her footsteps. Thank you, Lila, for your endless service to San Antonio. Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/rq2zmxWXEw— Clayton Perry (@district10perry) August 29, 2019
No ceilings between here and up there. Thank you. Rest in peace.— Diego Bernal (@DiegoBernalTX) August 29, 2019
Lila Cockrell, San Antonio's first female mayor, left a long and pioneering legacy https://t.co/1ZDT8dbvR3