From the Post-Gazette:
Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll, a much-beloved figure in Pennsylvania politics who helped forge a path for women and whose head-on bluntness made her one of the most colorful figures in Allegheny County and Harrisburg, died yesterday after battling cancer for several months.
She was 78.
The daughter of a McKees Rocks baker, Mrs. Knoll entered politics through Allegheny County's old Democratic machine, but then had to fight her way onto tickets, overcoming party leaders' questions about her intellect and concerns about whether a woman could win a statewide election.
A 40-year veteran of county political wars, Mrs. Knoll served two terms as state treasurer and made a strong third-place finish among seven candidates in the 1994 Democratic primary for governor. Eight years later she went on to win her highest post, lieutenant governor in the administration of Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell. She was the first woman to be elected to the office.
Mrs. Knoll will be succeeded as lieutenant governor by the current president pro tempore of the state Senate, Republican Joseph B. Scarnati III of Jefferson County.
The P-G article also mentions her frequent malaprops including referring to Gov. Edward G. Rendell as "Edward G. Robinson."
She was much loved in Western PA and while I was no real fan, I very much admire the fact that she was able to go as far as she did in a state that has a dearth of female politicians in top spots, especially coming from this region of the state.
RIP Catherine Baker Knoll