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Evanston aldermen took time out from their regular business Monday night to dedicate the Civic Center conference room known as the aldermanic library to the memory of a former mayor, Joan Barr-Smith.

Barr-Smith, who died in March, served two terms as mayor from 1985 to 1993 after also serving two terms as 2nd Ward alderman.

Known as Joan Barr during her years in Evanston politics, she was remembered for her veto that blocked imposition of a “tuition tax” on students at Northwestern University and her support of the joint university-city effort to develop a research park downtown.

Joan Barr-Smith’s portrait hangs outside the aldermanic libary now named in her honor.

She earned a degree from NU’s Kellogg School of Management and late in life became an ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church. She died after a six year battle against leukemia.

Her widower, Wayne Smith, called her “the most courageous person I’ve ever known” and noted that they’d managed to visit 49 states and 16 foreign countries together.

Related story

Evanston’s first female mayor managed through concensus (Chicago Tribune, 3/25/15)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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