Lucy Killea

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Lucy Killea (born Lucy Gold Lytle[1]) (July 31, 1922 – January 18, 2017) was an American politician who served in the California State Legislature from 1982 to 1996.


Lucy Lytle was born in San Antonio, Texas, and received a bachelor's degree from Incarnate Word College there in 1943. She served as a research analyst in Western Europe for the Military Intelligence Corps (United States Army), then in various other capacities for the United States Department of State, Central Intelligence Agency, Economic Cooperation Administration, United States Information Agency, in several countries. She married John F. Killea in 1946, and left the CIA in 1958 when her first child was born and when her husband was named consul general in Monterrey, Mexico, by President Eisenhower. John was subsequently named consul general in Tijuana, and Lucy remained interested in U. S.-Mexico relations, helping to found, in San Diego, Fronteras de las Californias and the International Community Foundation,[2] "both of which sought to help people south of the border through grants and charitable giving." She died on January 18, 2017, in San Diego, at the age of 94.[1]


In addition to her undergraduate studies, Lucy Killea received a Master of Arts degree in History from University of San Diego in 1966, and a Doctorate in History from University of California, San Diego, in 1975.

Elections and controversy[edit]

Killea was elected to the San Diego City Council from 1978 to 1982, then to the California State Assembly from its 78th district from 1982 to 1989.[3][4]

She was elected in a special election in 1989, replacing Larry Stirling as the senator for California's 39th State Senate district. Controversy surrounded the election as Leo Thomas Maher, the Catholic bishop of San Diego, prohibited Killea from receiving communion because she was pro-choice; she was the first politician to be punished in such a way for her political views.[5] The incident brought publicity to her candidacy and gained her the voters' sympathy, winning her the election.[6][7] Killea was subsequently re-elected in 1992, switching from the Democratic Party to Independent. She left office in 1996 due to California term limits.[8]


Lucy Killea was nominated and inducted into the San Diego County Women's Hall of Fame in 2002 hosted by Women's Museum of California, Commission on the Status of Women, University of California, San Diego, Women's Center, and San Diego State University Women's Studies. She is a Senior Fellow of the International Community Foundation,[9] and serves on the Board of Advisors of the San Diego-based Center for Ethics in Science and Technology.[10]


  1. ^ a b "Lucy Killea, a political trailblazer who was denied Communion for supporting abortion rights, dies at 94". Los Angeles Times. January 19, 2017. 
  2. ^ In Loving Memory of Lucy Killea, International Community Foundation, retrieved 2017-02-11.
  3. ^ "A Popular Killea Faces Major GOP Drive to Oust Her". Los Angeles Times. September 22, 1986. 
  4. ^ "Lucy Killea biography at ethics center". Retrieved 2016-02-05. 
  5. ^ "Abortion: A Bishop Says No". Time. November 27, 1989. 
  6. ^ "Abortion and Religion Put Focus on Election". New York Times. December 3, 1989. 
  7. ^ "Bishop Leo Maher, 75; Led San Diego Diocese". New York Times. February 25, 1991. 
  8. ^ "Killea to leave Senate, rules out run for Assembly". Associated Press. April 16, 1996. 
  9. ^ "Meet The Team - Staff Members". Retrieved 2016-02-02. 
  10. ^ "Board of Advisors". Retrieved 2016-02-02.