Saturday, March 09, 2013

Minerva Johnican, pioneer and trailblazer, leaves us far too soon at 74.

Minerva Johnican, one of the most fearless human beings I have ever known, passed from this earth last night after a long illness at the age of 74.

She served on the County Commission from 1975 until she was beaten in 1982 by Julian Bolton, a payback fro, Harold Ford Sr. for challenging him in the Democratic primary in 1980.  She never backed down from anything, and she jumped right back in by getting elected to an at-large position on the City Council in 1983, beating David Hill with Republican backing.  The SCDP did nothing to her, and should not have done anything; she proved her bona fides years earlier.

I got to know her working in her campaign for city Mayor in 1987, when she finished well behind Dick Hackett and John Ford.  However, she bounced back again by being the first female elected county-wide when she won the Criminal Court Clerk race in 1990.  She made great change that streamlined the processes and made things work smoother.

However, in 1994 the GOP decided to have a partisan slate for every county race and defeated her.

She was courageous and tough, and mentored countless numbers of women who wanted a career in public service.  Without her service on the County Commission, we might not have the Regional Medical Center at Memphis.  She fought for women, minorities and the poor and would work with anyone, but would not tolerate bullshit, either.

To say that she will be missed is an understatement.  We could use more like her, but she was really one of a kind.

Rest in peace, Minerva.

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