Nashville political activist Betty Nixon dies, age 80

Betty Chiles Nixon, a trailblazing woman in Nashville politics, a mentor for progressives and a relentless advocate for neighborhoods amid the city’s steady growth, died on Sunday. She was 80 and had suffered from cancer for some time..

Further from The Tennessean:

Nixon served on Metro Council from 1975 to 1987, representing District 18, which includes neighborhoods near Vanderbilt and Belmont universities, and helping spearhead a pro-neighborhoods movement.

Nixon later became the first woman to run for mayor of Nashville in 1987, finishing third behind winner Bill Boner. She ran for mayor again in 1991, losing to the better financed Phil Bredesen in a landslide.

Nixon remained a voice for her home neighborhood well after her public service. As recently as this past May, Nixon spoke at the Metro Council to oppose a proposed apartment complex that she said was out of character with the area.

“Betty Nixon was an amazing woman, leader, and friend who taught our city a lot of lessons about public service, the importance of neighborhoods and the power of women,” Mayor Megan Barry said in a statement.

…Professionally, Nixon worked as assistant vice chancellor for community, neighborhood and government relations at Vanderbilt University before retiring in 2007. She served as chairman of the board of the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center, a speech and hearing center, and was also a board member for the Nashville Electric Service.

Note: Emailed statement from TNDP Chairwoman Mary Mancini: “We are saddened by the loss of the amazing Betty Nixon. She was not only a role model for women, but for a generation of activists and candidates she befriended and helped with an encouraging word, a bit of sage advice, and an energy that was as boundless as it was invigorating. Her legacy will live on in the work she did for her community, for Nashville and for the state of Tennessee. Our thoughts and prayers are with family and friends and all who loved her.”