First female member of the Saginaw City Council and first female chair of the Saginaw County Commission
Image: Saginaw Hall of Fame
Barry County, Michigan, USA
Audra Francis was the first female council member of the Saginaw City Council. This action was just one of many that fulfilled a life dedicated to improving the status of women. After active leadership in the local PTA, participation in the Women's Society of Christian Service, and making women's history come alive by dressing up as Mary Lincoln, Grandma Moses, and others, Francis joined Saginaw's Zonta Club in 1941. The club required its members to pledge to: "…improve the legal, political, economic, and professional status of women." By 1947, she was elected president of the club and by 1950 she was a member of the Zonta International Board of Directors. Francis served as president of Zonta International from 1958-1960 and visited clubs in 48 states, all the Canadian provinces, 12 European countries, and Guatemala. She was elected to the Saginaw City Council in 1953 and served for twelve years. Francis was engaged in many civic activities, including fundraising for the YWCA. In 1972, she was elected chair of the Saginaw County Commission. This was yet another female first for the city. Francis died at the age of 90 after a life dedicated to forwarding women's equality and improving the city of Saginaw, Michigan.
Saginaw Hall of Fame, biographical sketches by Ed Miller and Jean Beach, published by The Saginaw Hall of Fame, 2000.