South Tahoe political trailblazer, Del Laine, passes away at 90

Staff Report

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Del Laine, a pioneer in South Lake Tahoe politics, has died at the age of 90 from natural causes with her family at her side.

Laine served on the South Lake Tahoe City Council from 1976-1980, and then again from 1984-1988. She became the city’s first female mayor in 1977. She would go on to serve one more term as mayor during her time on council.

Del Laine

“She paved the way for women to have a voice in shaping what South Lake Tahoe would become,” said Mayor Tamara Wallace. “Her dedicated service to our community and the legacy she leaves behind will continue to make Tahoe a better place for years to come.”

Laine was an avid supporter of the arts in Tahoe, co-founding the first Lake Tahoe Children’s theater and a supporter of local nonprofits. Soroptimist International South Lake Tahoe was one of the organizations dearest to Laine’s heart. She served as president, regional governor and was founder/coordinator of the Soroptimist Legislative Workshop. To her, women helping women was a concept she embraced all of her life.

Some of the boards and committees she served included: Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Urban Design Committee, Tahoe Basin Transportation Authority, Tahoe Regional Transportation District, advisory committee to California Department of Transportation, Lake Tahoe Historical Society, Happy Homestead Cemetery board, Lake Tahoe Educational Foundation, South Tahoe Women’s Center, and National Women’s Political Caucus.

She was instrumental in getting redevelopment off the ground in the city as a way to compete with other tourist destinations. Del was also a key player in creating the original loop road as it exists today.

“A life of public service is a challenging path and one Del Laine never shied away from,” said City Manager Joe Irvin. “Through her work on city council and in our community, she stood up for what is right, made tough decisions, and did it all with an eye on a better future for the place we call home.”

Laine’s political legacy lived on long after she left city council. Her daughter Brooke Laine followed in her footsteps. Brooke served on city council for years and also served as mayor twice.

City flags will fly at half-staff for the next five working days in memory of Del Laine.

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