Politicians, friends and constituents are mourning the death of Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor Catherine Baker Knoll. Mrs. Knoll died last evening at age 78 while being therapy for an infection after receiving chemotherapy treatment. The lieutenant governor was diagnosed in July with neuro-endocrine cancer.
Catherine Baker Knoll was born in the Pittsburgh suburb of McKees Rocks in 1930 and went to St. Mary's Catholic High School. After high school, she went to nursing school and then on to Duquesne University to study history and eduction. She won 2 terms as Pennsylvania Treasurer in 1988 and '92. In 2002, she beat out 8 other candidates in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor and then went on to win that office as Governor Ed Rendell's running mate to become the first woman to hold the post of lieutenant governor in Pennsylvania.
Governor Rendell called Mrs. Knoll a "passionate public servant" and a "wonderful governing partner."
State Representative Don Walko of Pittsburgh's Northside said that Mrs. Knoll had an uncanny ability to connect with residents and lawmakers and when she would see Pittsburghers visiting the Capitol, she would always invite them into her office.
Representative Tom Petrone is a lifelong friend of the lieutenant governor and he told DUQ News that shortly before she was diagnosed with cancer, Knoll and Petrone were in Atlantic City in July to see Mickey Rooney perform. Petrone says that Rooney and Mrs. Knoll were friends of many years and that the actor acknowledged her from the stage and after the show they went backstage to talk with Rooney.
The governor has ordered that flags at commonwealth facilities be flown at half-staff.