Louise McClure, lawyer from Idaho and passionate about public service, has died



Louise McClure (left) and her husband, former Senator Jim McClure, in 2009. Louise died Sunday at the age of 93.

Louise McClure (left) and her husband, former Senator Jim McClure, in 2009. Louise died Sunday at the age of 93.

Chris Butler / Idaho Statesman File

Louise McClure, a longtime public service enthusiast and wife of former Idaho Senator Jim McClure, died Sunday. She was 93 years old.

While Jim McClure was in Congress, Louise got involved in congressional brides organizations, hosted diplomats, and volunteered for several organizations. President George HW Bush appointed Louise McClure to the National Arts Council.

McClure has also served on the boards of directors of Boise Philharmonic, Parents and Youth Against Drug Abuse, Boise State Radio Community and Women’s and Children’s Alliance, according to the University of Idaho.

McClure grew up in Nezperce in northern Idaho and was his valedictorian in high school. She graduated from the University of Idaho in 1950 with a Bachelor of Music degree. She married Jim McClure in 1950 and they had three children: Marilyn, Ken and Dave.

Jim mcclure died in 2011. He served in the US Senate from 1973 to 1991 and in the House from 1967 to 1973.

Idaho politicians publicly shared their condolences on Monday.

“Louise was a wonderful friend to Teresa and I, and she was a loving and stable partner of former US Senator Jim McClure,” Governor Brad Little said in a statement. “Louise has been a tireless advocate for what was best for Idaho. She was an accomplished person dedicated to public service, and her contributions to our state and the arts will be felt for generations. She will also be remembered for bringing civility to politics. Teresa and I share our condolences to the family and loved ones of Louise McClure, a true icon of Idaho.

Idaho Senator Jim Risch and Rep. Mike Simpson echoed Little’s words.

“Vicki and I are saddened to hear the news of Louise McClure’s passing,” Risch tweeted. “Louise was a sophisticated woman and a loving and unwavering partner of former Idaho Senator Jim McClure for over 60 years. His love for Idaho and its people was unmatched, and his legacy will continue. “

“Kathy and I are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Louise McClure,” Simpson tweeted. “She was an amazing woman who dedicated her life to her amazing family and to Idaho. We are blessed for his public service and for his friendship. Kathy and I send our love and prayers to the McClure family. “

In 2007, the University of Idaho launched the James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research.

Mark Hofflund, executive director of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, interacted with McClure when Hofflund was chairman of the Idaho Commission on the Arts. Hofflund credited McClure with playing an influential role in securing funding while serving on the National Arts Council, which oversees the National Endowment for the Arts.

She worked behind the scenes with politicians and focused her efforts on collaboration, Hofflund said, particularly with regard to the arts, which were in danger of losing government support.

“At some point you have to come together and you have to support the other side if they win,” Hofflund said. “Louise was particularly good at finding ways for both sides to win in their own way. “

This story was originally published September 20, 2021 3:28 pm.

Paul Schwedelson is a breaking news and general assignment reporter for the Idaho Statesman. If you like to see stories like this, consider supporting us with a subscription.
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