Geraldine Ferraro Dies at 75

Posted March 26, 2011 at 11:58am

Updated: 2:35 p.m.

Geraldine Ferraro, the nation’s first female vice presidential nominee for a major political party, died Saturday after a long battle with cancer. She was 75.

Ferraro, a Democrat who represented New York in Congress, was nominated in 1984 to be Walter Mondale’s running mate. She was also the first Italian American to run on a national ticket.

The family said in a statement that she died at Massachusetts General Hospital as a result of complications from a blood cancer that she had fought for 12 years.

“Geraldine Anne Ferraro Zaccaro was widely known as a leader, a fighter for justice, and a tireless advocate for those without a voice. To us, she was a wife, mother, grandmother and aunt, a woman devoted to and deeply loved by her family,” her family said. “Her courage and generosity of spirit throughout her life waging battles big and small, public and personal, will never be forgotten and will be sorely missed.”

The family will announce details about a funeral service and wake.

Politicians and women’s groups issued statements Saturday afternoon calling Ferraro a pioneer and paying tribute to her years of service in Congress and beyond.

President Barack Obama said she “will forever be remembered as a trailblazer who broke down barriers for women, and Americans of all backgrounds and walks of life.”

“Whether it was as a public school teacher, assistant district attorney, Member of Congress, or candidate for Vice President, Geraldine fought to uphold America’s founding ideals of equality, justice, and opportunity for all,” the president said in a statement. “And as our Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Commission, she stood up for those ideals around the world.”

Obama also referenced his daughters.

“Sasha and Malia will grow up in a more equal America because of the life Geraldine Ferraro chose to live,” he said.