EAST LIVERPOOL - Dolores Satow, whose tenure as the city's first female mayor famously began with the flip of a coin, died at her home on Tuesday night. She was 84.
Satow was appointed to the office following the death of sitting Mayor William Devon in 1996. When a Democratic precinct committee vote between possible successors resulted in a tie between Satow and Randy DeBee, the final decision was made on a coin toss. Satow filled the remainder of Devon's term and was elected by voters to a full term in 1999, after which she retired in 2003.
Prior to holding office, Satow had worked at city hall for many years, including as Mayor Devon's secretary. One of her colleagues was Robin Tokorchek, a 17-year city hall veteran, who presently serves as secretary for Mayor James Swoger. "It's a great loss," Tokorchek said. "She was much-loved."
Satow's greatest strength was her genuine affection for East Liverpool, according to Tokorchek, who says Satow never stopped working for the betterment of the city, even in retirement. "She loved her city, and she wanted nothing but the best for it," Tokorchek said. "She served the city well, with great dignity and class."
Tokorchek recalled how Satow kept a small statuette of St. Anthony on her desk at city hall. Occasionally, the mayor would call upon its namesake for assistance, such as for help with finding something she'd lost. "I'd hear her say, 'Okay, come on, St. Anthony. Where's this at?' or 'Where's that at?'" Tokorchek said with a laugh. "And I'm thinking in my mind, 'Oh please, St. Anthony, because she's coming out here to me next, and I know I don't have it!'"
As for her legacy, Tokorchek said Satow was a person who always valued people above material things and who lived her Catholic faith. "Dolores loved her city, she loved her family - her kids, her grandkids, her sons-in-law. That's her legacy."
Swoger closely echoed the sentiments of Tokorchek. "She loved her city, her state and her country," he said. "She was just pure East Liverpool. It wasn't a job [for her], it was a passion."
Swoger credited Satow and former state governor Ted Strickland for encouraging him to run for mayor in 2003. He said Satow closely tutored him in the responsibilities of the office for a year before he announced his candidacy, calling it the best preparation he could have received. "She told me this, she told me that, what needs to be done and how it needs to be done," he said.
Swoger also mentioned Satow's religious fidelity, which she held fast to as mayor, as one of the characteristics he admired most about her. "She was a deeply Christian woman," he said. "She lived her faith, and she would not sacrifice that for anything."
In addition to her duties with the city, Satow also served as ladies chairwoman for the Columbiana County Democratic Party for many years. Patty Colian, secretary at the party offices in Lisbon, says Satow worked alongside her for more than 11 years on various campaigns. "She was a very good Democrat," Colian said. She expressed pride in Satow's "breaking the glass ceiling" in being the first woman mayor of East Liverpool.
Colian remembers a kind woman who volunteered with numerous charitable causes and was always willing to lend a hand. "If you needed help with anything, she was right out there," she said. "She always had it in her heart to help someone else."
The Martin MacLean Altmeyer Funeral Homes is in charge of funeral arrangements.