NEW YORK — Helen Marshall, who was the first African American to served as Queens borough president for 12 years, has died. She was 87.
The cause of death has not been released.
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer released a statement on Marshall’s death and commended her work serving as the borough president throughout the 2000s.
“Helen Marshall spent a lifetime improving Queens, and Queens was lucky to have Helen. For more than three decades, at many levels of government, she was an unrelenting advocate for her community. She fought for kids, for libraries, for schools — and she delivered results. Her work changed lives and changed communities. I value the eight years of collaboration we shared when serving as Borough Presidents. Helen will be deeply missed, and she and her loved ones are in my thoughts.”
Marshall became the first African American and the second woman to serve as Queens borough president in 2002. She stepped down as the borough president in 2013.
Marshall, born in the Bronx, started off her career in elected office in the state Assembly in 1983.
Melinda Katz, who replaced Marshall as borough president, called her predecessor “a larger-than-life figure in the civic life of Queens and State of New York.”
“During her decades in public life, Helen fought tenaciously to improve our children’s schools, to address seemingly intractable quality-of-life issues and to secure a fair share of City resources for Queens,” Katz said in a statement.
“She was a deeply compassionate person who cared tremendously about the well- being of her fellow Queens residents.”
Marshall’s husband, Donald, had passed away in January. She is survived by her children, Donald Jr. and Agnes Marie.