Dee Mautino, 1st female mayor of Grass Valley, dies at 91 | TheUnion.com

Dee Mautino, 1st female mayor of Grass Valley, dies at 91

DeVere "Dee" Mautino, a former Grass Valley councilwoman and the city's first female mayor, died on Monday. She was 91, friends said.

Mautino, whose passion for parks and recreation led to her name adorning DeVere Mautino Park on Alta Street, is described by friends as a woman with strong opinions who spoke her mind. She advocated for parks and recreation in Grass Valley and spoke of her appreciation for city employees. She was a mentor and an inspiration for women to run for election in local politics.

"She deserved to be the first woman mayor," said Linda Stevens, who served with Mautino on the council. "For the first time to have a woman in that position was tremendous."

Stevens met Mautino on the council, clashing at first but growing into good friends. She called Mautino and herself stubborn, opinionated women.

"The city of Grass Valley lost a real heroine," Stevens said. "She was a heroine."

Mautino served as an inspiration to Patti Ingram Spencer, a former Grass Valley councilwoman. She encouraged Ingram Spencer to run for council. Years later Ingram Spencer was on the council when it voted to name Mautino Park.

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"I don't think there was any hesitation from any member of the council," she said of the naming.

Councilwoman Lisa Swarthout also considers Mautino a mentor and friend, saying Mautino's election as mayor in 1994 helped pave the way for other women in elected office.

"She always spoke her mind," Swarthout said. "She cared so much about the city. She was a protector of our parks and recreation in Grass Valley."

Current Mayor Howard Levine served on the city's Planning Commission when Mautino was on the council. He remembers Mautino's concern over water rates for seniors, which led for some years to the city subsidizing the cost instead of raising rates.

"She's somebody who worked real hard for the city," Levine said. "She was a strong-willed, wonderful woman who certainly wanted good things to happen."

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.

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