OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Odilia Dank, a former Oklahoma City legislator who became the first Republican to lead the House Education Committee, has died after a long battle with cancer, House officials said Monday.
Dank died Saturday at Oklahoma Heart Hospital, House officials said. She was 74.
A school teacher and counselor in the Oklahoma City and Mid-Del school districts for 28 years, Dank was elected to her House District 85 seat in northern Oklahoma City in 1994. She served in the Legislature for 12 years, until she was term limited in 2006. She also served as vice chair of the Oklahoma Republican Party and as a board member for the Oklahoma Teachers Retirement System.
Her husband, David Dank, succeeded her in the House and currently holds the post.
"I am so grateful for the 36 years I had with Odilia and to all those who offered their support," Dank, R-Oklahoma City, said in a statement. "She was a great lady who had a tremendous impa ct on everyone who knew her."
House Speaker T.W. Shannon described Odilia Dank as a beloved member of the House and a "force to be reckoned with."
"She was a staunch advocate for education," Shannon, R-Lawton, said in a statement. "Her commitment to legislative transparency led to the 24-hour rule we operate under today. It requires us to post a bill for 24 hours before we can vote on it on the House floor."
Gov. Mary Fallin issued an executive order on Monday ordering all flags on state property to be flown at half-staff in Dank's honor from Friday until Monday, Aug. 26.
A funeral mass will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Christ the King Catholic Church in Oklahoma City. A Rosary will be held at the church at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
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Published in The Advocate on Aug. 20, 2013.