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Legal Giant Louise Raggio Dies

By Bill Zeeble, KERA News

Dallas, TX – Visitation and a memorial service for Texas legal giant Louise Raggio is scheduled for this weekend. Raggio led the fight for women's rights in Texas beginning in the mid-20th century and she never stopped. KERA's Bill Zeeble has more on Raggio, who died Sunday at age 91.

The first female assistant District Attorney in Dallas also became that office's first woman to prosecute a criminal case. But she left an even more memorable mark on the state after pushing for the landmark Texas Marital Property Act of 1967. In a KERA 13 documentary, Raggio said that in the 1960s, Texas was the worst state in the nation in terms of women's property rights.

Raggio: Basically when a man and woman married, they said the husband and wife were one, and he was the one, because all her property rights when she married were not hers anymore. If she owned an apartment house free and clear when she married, the rents belonged to her husband, and if she had bank account he could tell her bank not to let her withdraw any of her funds.

Raggio was incensed by what she deemed blatant discrimination, and so she championed the state's groundbreaking statute of 1967.

Raggio: The Marital Property Act of 1967 actually gave the same results of a constitutional amendment. This was massive legislation that changed Texas law 180 degrees.

Countless women were inspired by Louise Raggio, who continued battling for women's legal rights here and nationwide. She died Sunday of natural causes.

The public can pay their respects to the family of Louise Raggio between at 10 am and 7 pm Saturday, 29 January, at Sparkman Hillcrest. The family will be there from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The memorial service will be at the Unitarian Church - at the corner of Normandy and Preston - on Sunday, January 30th at 2 p.m.

KERA will rebroadcast the entire program, Texas Trailblazer: Louise Raggio on Monday Jan. 31 at 10 p.m. & Sunday, Feb. 13 at 9:30 p.m.

Email Bill Zeeble