Lila Mayoral Wirshing

This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Mayoral and the second or maternal family name is Wirshing.
Lila Mayoral Wirshing
8th First Lady of Puerto Rico
In office
January 2, 1973 – January 2, 1977
Governor Rafael Hernández Colón
Preceded by Rosario Ferré
Succeeded by Kate Donnelly
In office
January 2, 1985 – January 2, 1993
Preceded by Kate Donnelly
Succeeded by Irma Margarita Neváres
Personal details
Born Lila de las Mercedes Mayoral Wirshing
May 12, 1942
Ponce, Puerto Rico
Died July 1, 2003 (aged 60)
Ponce, Puerto Rico
Spouse(s) Rafael Hernández Colón (1959-2003; her death)
Children Rafael
José Alfredo
Dora Mercedes
Juan Eugenio (b. 1969)
Alma mater Universidad del Sagrado Corazón
Religion Roman Catholic

Lila Mayoral Wirshing (May 12, 1942 – July 1, 2003[1]) was the wife of Governor of Puerto Rico Rafael Hernández Colón, and served as First Lady during his three terms as Governor (1973–77, 1985–93).

Early years and marriage

Lila de las Mercedes Mayoral Wirshing was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico in 1942.[1] Her parents were Juan Eugenio Mayoral Renovales, an industrialist, and Julita Wirshing Serrallés. She was the second of four sisters: Julita Mercedes, Ana Inés, and Eugenia.[1] She began her studies at the Liceo Ponceño in Ponce, and finished high school at the Dana Hall School in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

During this time that she met Rafael Hernández Colón, who was a young law student at the time.[1] Mayoral Wirshing and Hernández Colón married on October 24, 1959. They had four children: Rafael, José Alfredo, Dora Mercedes, and Juan Eugenio.[2]

First Lady of Puerto Rico: 1972–1977

Lila Mayoral became First Lady of Puerto Rico when her husband, Rafael Hernández Colón, was elected Governor in the 1972 general elections. She remained in the position until Hernández Colón lost the 1976 elections. As first lady, Mayoral distinguished herself for her dedication to the community. For example, after Hurricane Eloise caused significant damage in Puerto Rico, Mayoral organized a benefit concert to aid those affected by the storm.[3]

Return to private life and college: 1977–1984

After her husband was defeated in his bid for another term in La Fortaleza, Mayoral Wirshing returned to college to finish her degree. She received her Bachelor's degree in Business Management from the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón in 1982, graduating summa cum laude with a 4.00 GPA.[1]

Return to La Fortaleza: 1985–1993

Mayoral became the First Lady again when Hernández Colón was reelected as Governor in 1984. The next year, after the Mameyes Landslide in Ponce, Mayoral convinced the government to build concrete homes for the victims instead of relocating them into new wood-frame homes. Also, after Hurricane Hugo affected the island, Mayoral acted as liaison between the government and the community to synchronize fund-raising efforts to help the victims of that storm. She was president of the board of directors of "Dale la Mano a Puerto Rico", a public-private partnership that organized a marathon where they raised $15.6 million in help funds.[3]

Mayoral also led a school anti-drug campaign called "Abre tus ojos a un mundo sin drogas" (Open your eyes to a world without drugs). The campaign encouraged students to create artwork that revolved around anti-drug themes.[3] Several celebrities, including José Miguel Agrelot, Ednita Nazario, and Dagmar participated in the campaign, handing out awards and gifts to the winners.[1] She also led reforestation efforts in the island, particularly along roadways and in the schools.[3]

Later years and death

After her retirement from public life, Mayoral continued working on several projects, including Centro San Francisco in Ponce and the construction of a sanctuary for the Virgin Mary (Lumen Dei Union) in Orocovis.[1]

Mayoral died on January 7, 2003, aged 60, of colon cancer.[3] A school in Barrio Canas, Sector El Tuque in Ponce was named in her honor.[4] The building housing the headquarters of the Puerto Rico Department of Family Affairs in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is also named after her.[5]

Honors and awards

Mayoral received numerous awards and honors during her lifetime, including:[1]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Lila Mayoral Wirshing" (PDF). Fundación Biblioteca Rafael Hernández Colón (in Spanish). Retrieved October 2, 2016.
  2. "Ventila su nuevo amor Hernández Colón". Primera Hora (in Spanish). San Juan, Puerto Rico. August 2, 2004.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 "Muere ex primera dama Lila Hernández Mayoral". Puerto Rico Herald (in Spanish). Ponce. January 7, 2003.
  4. "Gobernador inaugura Escuela Lila Mayoral en Ponce" (in Spanish). Universia Puerto Rico. August 18, 2006.
  5. "Administración de Familias y Niños (Dpto. Familia)". Poral Oficial del Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico (in Spanish).
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