SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio community is mourning the loss of a legislative icon.
Ruth Jones McClendon, 74, died Tuesday. She was in public office for about two decades and was well-respected across party lines.
Members with the Harvard Place/East Lawn Neighborhood Association gathered for their Christmas party and remembered the legacy she left behind.
Mary Emerson said McClendon worked to make her community better.
“Her drive was to help humanity and to see progress in the community where she worked,” Emerson said.
Emerson mentioned how approachable McClendon was and how she was always ready to greet her constituents.
“We were proud of her,” Emerson said.
Sister of the Holy Spirit Gabriella Lohan said McClendon worked on job training.
“She tried to get the money from the city for our jobs training program. She wanted our people to be economically secure,” Lohan said.
McClendon wore many hats during her time in public service as a councilwoman, mayor pro tempore and state representative for District 120.
State Rep. Barbara Gervin-Hawkins won the District 120 seat when McClendon announced her retirement last year. She met with McClendon shortly before taking office and said while McClendon could not communicate as well, she did hold her hand and entrusted her with the mission to continue to work for her district.
“It was like ‘Take care of my people. Take care of the people. I care about who I ran to serve,’” Gervin-Hawkins said. “So I committed to her that I would.”
Gervin-Hawkins said McClendon was a strong decisive voice for her community and a great example to young people.
“Her motivation was to improve the quality of life for the people of the district,” she said. “I want to be the one who carries her light into the future in terms of what she's been able to accomplish.”
In February 2017, St. Philip’s College dedicated an exhibit put together by artifacts McClendon donated from her years in office.
Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert said he is working to name a street Ruth McClendon, way off of Interstate 10 between Martin Luther King Drive and East Houston Street on the grounds of the new Childsafe Building.
Funeral services have not been announced.