Former Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas has died at the age of 80.

Thomas became nationally known for her calm leadership during hurricanes Rita and Ike. She earned the nickname “Hurricane Mayor” after shepherding the city through both storms.

“Lyda Ann stood tall for Galveston in our darkest hour,” said Mayor James D. Yarbrough. “Most people remember her as Mayor but she had a lifetime of tireless efforts behind the scenes. She truly was one of our heroes.”

Thomas was elected to the Galveston City Council in 1998, and was elected mayor in 2004.

Lyda Ann Thomas left, with former Presidents Clinton and Bush and former Secretary of State James Baker after Hurricane Ike. (Jim McGrath)
Lyda Ann Thomas left, with former Presidents Clinton and Bush and former Secretary of State James Baker after Hurricane Ike. (Jim McGrath)

A child of one the city's founding families, she was known for her civic service.

“Lyda Ann was an advocate for the underdog and always made sure they had a level playing field. She was truly a blessing to this City and she will be dearly missed by many,” said Mayor Yarbrough.

Thomas received many honors, including: The Spirit of Elissa Award from Galveston Historical Foundation; The Community Enrichment Award from the Grand 1894 Opera House; the Pacesetter and Quality of Life Awards from Clean Galveston; the People of Vision Award (with her family) from Prevent Blindness; the Brotherhood Award from Reedy Chapel AME Church; and the Helping Hands Award from Public,Incorporated.

This story is a result of our partnership with the Galveston County Daily News. You can read more in the Daily News.

In this photo provided by the U.S. Navy, Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas prepares to fly to the amphibious assault ship USS Nassau for a Hurricane Ike meeting September 17, 2008 in Galveston, Texas. (Photo by Kiona M. Mckissack/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)
In this photo provided by the U.S. Navy, Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas prepares to fly to the amphibious assault ship USS Nassau for a Hurricane Ike meeting September 17, 2008 in Galveston, Texas. (Photo by Kiona M. Mckissack/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)