Ex-Rep. Barbara Vucanovich, Nevada’s first congresswoman, dies at 91

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Former Rep. Barbara Vucanovich, who was the first woman to represent Nevada in Congress and went on to serve seven terms, died Monday after a short illness, family members said. She was 91.

The late congresswoman’s daughter, Patty Cafferata, said Mrs. Vucanovich died in Reno, Nev. She had broken her pelvis in February and never fully recovered, Ms. Cafferata said.

“Barbara Vucanovich enjoyed her years of service to the people of Nevada, and like other Nevadans we are immensely proud of all she accomplished,” family members said in a statement. “We also know that while Barbara was deeply honored to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, her family always came first. Perhaps that is why she was so admired as a politician. We will miss her and we wish to extend our thanks to everyone for their support during this time of loss.”

Mrs. Vucanovich, a Republican, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982. She was a congresswoman from 1983 to 1997, serving on panels including the House Interior Committee and the House Appropriations Committee.

Born in Camp Dix, N.J., Mrs. Vucanovich was raised in New York state and moved to Reno in the late 1940s. She worked on campaigns and served as a staffer for U.S. Sen. Paul Laxalt before launching her own career in office.

Mrs. Vucanovich had five children and was married to George Vucanovich, who died in 1998.

A funeral is set for Friday at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Reno.

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