WASHINGTON (AP) – Former United States (US) representative Pat Schroeder, a pioneer for women’s and family rights in Congress, died on Monday night. She was 82.
Schroeder’s former press secretary, Andrea Camp said Schroeder suffered a stroke recently and died at a hospital in Celebration, Florida, the city where she had been residing in recent years.
Schroeder took on the powerful elite with her rapier wit and antics for 24 years, shaking up stodgy government institutions by forcing them to acknowledge that women had a role in government.
Her unorthodox methods cost her important committee posts, but Schroeder said she wasn’t willing to join what she called “ ‘the good old boys’ club” just to score political points.
She was the first woman on the House Armed Services Committee but was forced to share a chair with US representative Ron Dellums, the first African American, when committee chairman F Edward Hebert, organised the panel. Schroeder said Hebert thought the committee was no place for a woman or an African American and they were each worth only half a seat.
Schroeder was born in Portland, Oregon, on July 30, 1940. She was a pilot who paid for college tuition with her own flying service. She graduated from the University of Minnesota before earning her law degree in 1964. From 1964 to 1966, she was a field attorney for the National Labor Relations Board.
She is survived by her husband, James W Schroeder, whom she married in 1962. Also surviving are their two children, Scott and Jamie, and her brother, Mike Scott, as well as four grandchildren.