Farewell to the "schoolmarm who drinks and smokes."
March 5, 2013 7:31 AM   Subscribe

Dawn Clark Netsch dies at 86. Dawn Clark Netsch was a woman of many firsts: she integrated the dorms of Northwestern University in 1949, graduated first in her class from Northwestern's School of Law (as the only female graduate), joined the Law School faculty in 1965 as the first woman law professor in the United States, elected Comptroller as the first woman to a state-wide office in Illinois in 1972, and was the first woman to run for governor in Illinois.

Netsch was a force of nature and a character of many contraditions. Described by her biographer as "a schoolmarm who drinks and smokes, a powerful woman who has never learned to drive, a feminist who thought of herself as one of the boys, a well-to-do woman who is frugal to a fault."

There is serious talk of the current Attorney General in Illinois running for governor in the next election. If she does, she will have Dawn Clark Netsch to thank for paving the way "as a woman in the legal profession, legal academy and politics ... and a pioneer."
posted by zooropa (11 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by IvoShandor at 7:54 AM on March 5, 2013


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posted by saturday_morning at 8:05 AM on March 5, 2013


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In 1995 Netsch was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame as a "Friend of the Community" for her support of issues of importance to the LGBT community.

(oops, I guess the Wikipedia page where I pulled this from is

Her run for governor in 1994 was the first political campaign I ever volunteered for. Alas, she was too liberal for the Chicago machine and certainly for the downstate area where I was at the time. She was, I respectfully submit, a bad-ass, and though it is sad that she is gone, we were lucky to have her.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:41 AM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


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IIRC, her signature was on my paychecks when I worked for a state university.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:55 AM on March 5, 2013


I will always remember the ad with her shooting pool.
posted by gyc at 9:28 AM on March 5, 2013


There is serious talk of the current Attorney General in Illinois running for governor in the next election. If she does, she will have Dawn Clark Netsch to thank for paving the way "as a woman in the legal profession, legal academy and politics ... and a pioneer."

I'm guessing Lisa Madigan should give more thanks to her dad than anyone else for paving her way to elected office.
posted by gyc at 9:29 AM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thanks for posting this. There's something to be said for a politician that you can absolutely rely on to do the right thing. When she spoke out on something you knew she meant what she said and came to her conclusions with thoughtful analysis of what was best for her constituents. Yes, she played ball with the Daley machine and Mike Madigan, but that’s what it takes to get the job done.

I was saddened to here of her ALS diagnosis a few weeks ago and hope her final days were peaceful. She will be missed.
posted by readery at 9:51 AM on March 5, 2013


I was honored to have a moment to greet her at an event a month or so ago.

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posted by crush-onastick at 2:50 PM on March 5, 2013


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posted by Ralston McTodd at 5:43 PM on March 5, 2013


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posted by Fig at 7:14 PM on March 5, 2013


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posted by walla at 10:14 AM on March 10, 2013


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