Louise Shadduck, 92, an Idaho historian and author who was believed to be the first woman in the nation to serve in a state cabinet post, died Sunday in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, after a long illness, her nephew said.
She became the first woman in the U.S. to serve at the state cabinet level when she was appointed Idaho’s secretary of commerce and development in the late 1950s, according to the National Federation of Press Women.
In the 1930s, Shadduck began her career as a journalist with the Coeur d’Alene Press and the Spokesman-Review newspapers. She moved into politics after covering the 1944 Republican National Convention and served on the staffs of several prominent Idaho Republicans, including two governors.
A descendant of pioneers who migrated West on the Oregon Trail in the mid-1800s, Shadduck often said Idaho hadn’t recorded enough of its history. She tried to fill the void by writing several books about the state, including histories of medicine, rodeos and Coeur d’Alene.
Born in 1915, Shadduck grew up with six brothers on a Coeur d’Alene dairy farm. She survived them all and never married, later saying “it was because no man could keep up with her,” her great-niece, Kiantha Shadduck, told the Spokesman-Review this week.