Helen Marshall, who served as Queens borough president for 12 years after many nearly two decades as a Democratic lawmaker at the city and state levels, died Saturday in California. She was 87.
A former teacher, she spent her years in public office with a sharp focus on education and expanding library services in Queens.
Marshall was the first African-American borough president of Queens and the second woman to occupy the post in the most ethnically diverse county in the country.
“Helen Marshall was a larger-than-life figure in the civic life of Queens and the State of New York,” said Melinda Katz, who succeeded Marshall as the borough president.
“During her decades in public life, Helen fought tenaciously to improve our children’s schools, to address seemingly intractable quality-of-life issues and to secure a fair share of City resources for Queens.