Lila Mayoral Wirshing
|Lila Mayoral Wirshing|
|8th First Lady of Puerto Rico|
January 2, 1973 – January 2, 1977
|Governor||Rafael Hernández Colón|
|Preceded by||Rosario Ferré|
|Succeeded by||Kate Donnelly|
January 2, 1985 – January 2, 1993
|Preceded by||Kate Donnelly|
|Succeeded by||Irma Margarita Neváres|
Lila de las Mercedes Mayoral Wirshing|
May 12, 1942
Ponce, Puerto Rico
July 1, 2003 (aged 60)|
Ponce, Puerto Rico
|Spouse(s)||Rafael Hernández Colón (1959-2003; her death)|
Juan Eugenio (b. 1969)
|Alma mater||Universidad del Sagrado Corazón|
Early years and marriage
Lila de las Mercedes Mayoral Wirshing was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico in 1942. 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. 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. Mayoral Wirshing and Hernández Colón married on October 24, 1959. They had four children: Rafael, José Alfredo, Dora Mercedes, and Juan Eugenio.
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.
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.
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.
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. Several celebrities, including José Miguel Agrelot, Ednita Nazario, and Dagmar participated in the campaign, handing out awards and gifts to the winners. She also led reforestation efforts in the island, particularly along roadways and in the schools.
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.
Mayoral died on January 7, 2003, aged 60, of colon cancer. A school in Barrio Canas, Sector El Tuque in Ponce was named in her honor. The building housing the headquarters of the Puerto Rico Department of Family Affairs in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is also named after her.
Honors and awards
- 1971, Young Mother of the Year
- 1973, Woman of the Year, receiving the plaque from Mayor of New York City John Lindsay
- 1975, Distinguished Woman from the Chamber of Commerce
- 1985, Honorary Member of the Commission of Businesswomen
- 1987, Recognition from the Philadelphia Council of Hispanic Organizations
- 1990, Recognition from FEMA for her efforts after Hurricane Hugo
- 1991, Honorary Member of the Westchester Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Inc.
- 1992, Honorary Doctorate in Social Work from University of Aruba.
- "Lila Mayoral Wirshing" (PDF). Fundación Biblioteca Rafael Hernández Colón (in Spanish). Retrieved October 2, 2016.
- "Ventila su nuevo amor Hernández Colón". Primera Hora (in Spanish). San Juan, Puerto Rico. August 2, 2004.
- "Muere ex primera dama Lila Hernández Mayoral". Puerto Rico Herald (in Spanish). Ponce. January 7, 2003.
- "Gobernador inaugura Escuela Lila Mayoral en Ponce" (in Spanish). Universia Puerto Rico. August 18, 2006.
- "Administración de Familias y Niños (Dpto. Familia)". Poral Oficial del Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico (in Spanish).