Ruth Ann Minner was governor of Delaware. She was the first woman to hold the position, as noted by The News Journal. Minner's rise to political power would be all the more remarkable given the trials she faced earlier in life.

A Democrat, Minner's tenure as governor would include celebrated achievements. However, her gubernatorial career would consist of gaffes and scandals. And now, her Earthly legacy has been left for historians to debate.

Passed away on November 4, 2021

Ruth Ann Minner has died, reports WBOC. The news was announced by current Delaware Agriculture Secretary and former acting United States Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse.

Scuse was Minner's chief of staff while she was governor.

A cause of death was not released to the public at the time. Minner will become the third former governor of Delaware to pass away in 2021. She followed Dale E. Wolf and Pete du Pont.

Minner's close connections to politics came when she began working for the Delaware House of Representatives. Later, she worked as a receptionist for Governor Sherman W. Tribbitt.

In 1974, Minner was elected to the Delaware House of Representatives for the first time. On multiple occasions, she would become the House majority whip. She would also chair the House's Bond Bill and Rules committees. Eventually, Minner would serve in the Delaware Senate, originally elected in 1982.

Held both of Delaware's two highest political offices

Minner was elected as the first female lieutenant governor of Delaware in 1992. She was re-elected to the office in 1996. Four years later, she was elected as the state's governor. She would take office earlier than would normally be expected. As both governor and lieutenant governor, her predecessor, Tom Carper, had been elected to the United States Senate.

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As such, shortly before the end of his gubernatorial term, he resigned to take his Senate seat. As she was still the lieutenant governor, Minner was elevated to the governorship. In 2004, Minner was re-elected.

As governor, Minner is likely best-remembered for her work to limit the use of tobacco products and smoking. Controversial at the time, it's since been viewed as a landmark achievement in the United States.

Conversely, elements of her tenure have are also viewed in a decidedly negative light. During her tenure, Delaware's prison system came under intense scrutiny. The U.S. Department of Justice reported many cases of significant civil rights violations. And there was also a horrific case involving a prison counselor being attacked. To make matters worse, Minner's response seemed lacking appropriate compassion to many onlookers.

Minner was term-limited from running for governor again in 2008. State Treasurer Jack Markell was elected to succeed her.

Was twice-widowed in her life

Maiden name Coverdale, Ruth Ann Minner, was born and raised in eastern Delaware. As a teenager, she left school to work on her family's farm.

Later, she married Frank Ingram. When she was 32, Frank died suddenly. While raising their children, Ruth Ann worked two jobs and studied for a GED, which she earned in 1968. Eventually, she would attend Delaware Technical Community College.

Ruth Ann later re-married to Roger Minner. Together, they operated the Roger Minner Wrecking Service, a towing company. In 1991, Roger died of lung cancer.