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Monday, May 12, 2014

Lucie C. McKinney, Activist and Mother of GOP Leader, 80

By Mark Pazniokas

Lucie C. McKinney of Westport, a blunt and strong-willed activist and philanthropist best-known to the public as the daughter of a famous sportsman, widow of a congressman and mother of a state Senate leader, died Saturday, May 10 of complications from cancer. She was 80. Image
Lucie McKinney and son, state Sen. John McKinney, celebrated the Westport Weston Family Y’s 90th birthday last September. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

She was married to Stewart B. McKinney, the 4th District congressman who died in 1987 of AIDS, a cause of death from which she never shied. Her father, Briggs Cunningham II, was a Le Mans race-car driver and a victorious America’s Cup skipper in the 1950s.

One of her five children is Senate Minority Leader John P. McKinney, R-Fairfield, a candidate for the Republican nomination for governor. His name will be placed in nomination at the GOP convention next weekend.

As the scion of a co-founder of Standard Oil, she was a daughter of privilege, yet unafraid to mix it up in politics or public policy. [Her great grandfather was Edward T. Bedford, founder of the Westport Weston Family Y and longtime Westport philanthropist. He died in 1931.]

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