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  • 4-25-1975 Margaret , Carpenter - Thornton ...

    Denver Post File

    Margaret Carpenter on April 25, 1975, in the Thornton City Council.

  • JAN 16 1980 Carpenter, Margaret, Dr. ...

    Denver Post file

    Margaret Carpenter as seen on Jan. 16, 1980.

  • 7-1981, MAR 18 1982 Carpenter, Margaret ...

    Denver Post file

    Mayor of Thornton Margaret Carpenter as seen on March 18, 1982.

  • OCT 24 1981, OCT 28 1981 ...

    Denver Post file

    "Thornton has come a long way" Mayor Margaret Carpenter and Councilman Joseph McCloskey shovel spadefuls of dirt at groundbreaking ceremonies Friday for Thornton's municipal complex on October 24, 1981.

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Margaret Carpenter, who with roughly 20 years in office became Thornton’s longest-serving mayor and the first woman in the job, has died at age 87.

Carpenter was first elected to Thornton City Council in 1973 and served 26 years on the dais. Carpenter, who died Friday, was elected mayor of the city in November 1979 and took office the following January.

Carpenter served on many boards and committees during her tenure, including the Colorado Water Roundtable with Gov. Richard Lamm, the Growth Summit with Gov. Roy Romer and the Supreme Court/Court of Appeals nominating committee.

She rallied the city when a tornado struck the community in 1981. But Carpenter, who continued to call Thornton home after she stepped down, was noted for managing what is now Colorado’s sixth-largest city as it went through a rapid growth spurt, increasing in population from 42,000 to more than 80,000.

There are now nearly 140,000 people living in Thornton.

“I give a lot of credit to her for the healthy growth of the city,” Thornton Mayor Heidi K. Williams said in a statement. “While she was mayor, the city acquired land, water rights, and developed a vision for the city which we are all enjoying today.”

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