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POLB’s First Woman Commissioner Dies at 93

April 22, 2014

Louise M. DuVall (Courtesy POLB)

Louise M. DuVall (Courtesy POLB)

Louise M. DuVall, the first woman to serve on the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners, died Saturday, April 19. She was 93.

She was appointed to two terms on the Harbor Commission, serving from Feb. 6, 1979, to July 18, 1990. She advocated for women to rise in the legal profession and the maritime industry.

“Louise led the way and broke through barriers for other women who would follow,” said current Harbor Commissioner Susan E. Anderson Wise, also an attorney, who speaks regularly to young career women about how DuVall inspired her. “Many women can be grateful to Louise for their positions and what they have been able to achieve.”

Known for her sense of humor, DuVall was active in the legal profession, shipping industry and the community. She was a past president and life member of the Pacific Coast Association of Port Authorities (which later became known as the Association of Pacific Ports), member of the Maritime Transportation Research Board, Chairwoman of the International Trade Committee of the Long Beach Economic Partnership, board member of the Long Beach Symphony Association, and board member of the World Trade Center Association of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Born in Pittsburgh, Penn., DuVall moved to Long Beach in 1954. While working during the day, she attended Southwestern University School of Law at night and was admitted to the California Bar in 1963.

In private practice, she specialized in corporate law and became one of Long Beach's most prominent attorneys. She was the first woman president of the Long Beach Bar Association, and was named “Lawyer of the Year” in 1992. DuVall was president of the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce's Women's Council, and the first woman to be elected to the Chamber board and to serve as an officer of the Chamber as Vice President of Community Affairs.

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