Thelda Williams, former Phoenix mayor and councilmember, dead at 82

Thelda Williams, former Phoenix mayor and councilmember, dead at 82

Phoenix Mayor Thelda Williams, front right, speaks during a news conference in 2019. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

By Robert Gundran

November 16, 2023

Thelda Williams, the former mayor of Phoenix and city councilwoman, died Nov. 14 of cancer. She was 82.

Williams was on the Phoenix City Council from 1989 to 1995, and then again from 2007 to 2021. She was interim mayor three times—once from March to November in 1994, again from December 2011 to January 2012, and for the last time from May 2018 to March 2019.

Flags on city buildings across Phoenix will be lowered to half-mast until sunset on Nov. 21.

Williams served various roles during her time with the city, including as the city’s vice mayor, chair of the Phoenix City Council’s Transportation Infrastructure and Planning Committee, and as chair of the Valley Metro Rail board.

“Thelda Williams’s service to our city has touched and improved the lives of everyone who lives here—from improving Sky Harbor International Airport to strengthening our transit system to making sure that we use our water wisely,” Mayor Kate Gallego said in a press release.

The City Council voted in May to name the transit center at Metrocenter after Williams. In 2019, the city, Downtown Phoenix Partnership, and PetSmart Charities built downtown Phoenix’s first dog park and named it the Thelda Williams Paw-Pup Dog Park.

“Thelda Williams leaves behind a legacy for all of Phoenix that cannot be outshined,” Councilwoman Ann O’Brien said in a press release.

Williams is survived by her son Murry, daughter Cyndi, and three grandsons.


  • Robert Gundran

    Robert Gundran grew up in the Southwest, spending equal time in the Valley and Southern California throughout his life. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism in 2018 and wrote for The Arizona Republic and The Orange County Register.


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