Geraldine Ferraro, the first Vice-presidential candidate in US history passed away today at the age of 75. She had been battling a form of blood cancer called multiple myeloma for 12 years.
"Geraldine Anne Ferraro Zaccaro was widely known as a leader, a fighter for justice and a tireless advocate for those without a voice. To us, she was a wife, mother, grandmother and aunt, a woman devoted to and deeply loved by her family," the family statement said. "Her courage and generosity of spirit throughout her life waging battles big and small, public and personal, will never be forgotten and will be sorely missed."
Ferraro, along with running mate Walter Mondale, lost in a landslide in 1984 to Ronald Reagan and George Bush with a popular vote total of 58.8% to 40%.
But Ferraro's place in history will always stand as a "first" that helped open doors for women in untold ways.
Ferraro was born August 26, 1935 -- Women's Equality Day -- in Newburgh, New York, to restaurant owner Dominick and Antonetta (Corrieri) Ferraro. She earned a bachelor's degree in English at Marymount Manhattan College in 1956. Then, while working as an elementary teacher by day, she put herself through law school at night, earning a law degree from Fordham University in 1960.
She was first elected to public office in 1978 when she became the U.S. representative for the 9th Congressional District of New York. She was re-elected in 1980 and 1982.
During her three terms in the House, she championed the Equal Rights Amendment and sponsored the Women's Economic Equity Act.