We are proud that two of the distinguished individuals honored by the Hartford Medical Society for their contributions to the betterment of the Greater Hartford Area included Malta’s very own Dr. Pauline Olsen and Dr. Tracy Brennan. Dr. Olsen and Dr. Brennan both received the Distinguished Service Award as part of the Horace Wells Humanitarian Awards which recognizes individuals who better the world and our local community through volunteer efforts, humanitarian support, and exemplary growth as a medical professional, student, or resident. Both have also been honored with Malta’s Wonder Women award in the past and we are thrilled that their contributions have been recognized in this way. A special ceremony was at the Mark Twain House on May 18th. Congratulations!
In 2019, Malta House of Care proudly honored Ann Uccello as one of our “Wonder Women” for her contributions as a pioneer, a trailblazer, and a feminist right here in Hartford, Connecticut as the state’s first female mayor. On April 25, 2019 we honored her along with five other women chosen for their outstanding community service.
We are sad to hear of her passing and grateful for her contributions to our community.
Click here to view her bio from the Wonder Women event.
This year Malta is honoring a new class of five extraordinary women at our Celebrating Wonder Women event on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at The Bushnell. To learn about this year’s class please visit this link.
Ann Uccello, first female mayor in Connecticut, dies at 100
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Antonina “Ann” Uccello, the first woman to be elected a mayor in Connecticut when she won an upset victory as a Republican in Hartford in 1967, has died. She was 100.
Uccello, who went on to serve in the Nixon, Ford and Carter administrations, died of natural causes Sunday night at a hospital in Hartford, said Jacqueline Gustafson, who is married to Uccello’s nephew, David Gustafson.
“She just had remarkable intellect, resiliency and determination,” Jacqueline Gustafson, of West Hartford, said in a phone interview Tuesday. “She was someone I greatly admired. … Ann was always someone I could talk to.”
Tributes from state political leaders poured in Tuesday afternoon as word of Uccello’s passing began circulating.
“Ann Uccello was a trailblazer who was born and raised in Hartford and dedicated her career in public service to the city she loved,” Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont said in a statement. “She had a remarkable spirit and energy, and she leaves a lasting legacy on Connecticut’s capitol city.”
Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, also a Democrat, said Uccello shattered glass ceilings in the Connecticut political arena, then served as one of the highest-ranking women in the Nixon administration — as consumer affairs director in the Department of Transportation. She continued to work at the Transportation Department under Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.
“I admired her ground breaking work as Mayor of Hartford,” Bysiewicz said in a statement. “She leaves a legacy that has and will continue to inspire generations of women to pursue careers in politics and public service.”
Uccello, who has a street named after her in Hartford, served on the city council from 1963 to 1967 after working as a high school history teacher and in management positions at the G. Fox department store. In a heavily Democratic city, she defeated incumbent Mayor George Kinsella in the 1967 election and was re-elected two years later.
As mayor, she was best known for comforting city residents and helping to prevent riots after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, according to Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame, where she was inducted in 1999. She also worked to protect children from lead poisoning and helped create low- and moderate-income housing, according to the Hall of Fame.
Uccello also ran for the 1st Congressional District in the Hartford area in 1970, but lost a close race to Democrat William Cotter before taking the Department of Transportation job.
Uccello was one of five daughters of immigrants from Sicily, Italy. After graduating from high school and then a private Roman Catholic college, she did graduate work at Trinity College in Hartford and the University of Connecticut Law School.
She was a devout Christian and never married, Jacqueline Gustafson said.
Gustafson said she once asked Uccello why she never married and Uccello responded, “I never met a man who deserved that much happiness.”
Gustafson said Uccello’s funeral is expected to be held next week and she will be buried at the historic Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hartford, the final resting place of many notable Hartford residents and natives including actress Katharine Hepburn.
“The Queen of Everest Trains While Working at Whole Foods” by Bhadra Sharma and Adam Skolnick was featured in the New York Times on January 31, 2023. The piece focuses on Malta Wonder Woman Class of 2019, Lhakpa Sherpa who has climbed Mount Everest 10 times, the most ascents ever by a woman.
“Unlike the routines of most climbers, who drop into specialized training for months or even years, Lhakpa’s training regimen took place at a Whole Foods in West Hartford, Conn., where she carried large stacks of boxed fruits and vegetables. Occasionally, she hiked to the top of the 6,288-foot Mount Washington, a meager stand-in for the highest mountain on earth.”
“In 2022, she quit her supermarket job to try her 10th summit, a hallowed number in Everest mountaineering akin to 500 home runs or 3,000 hits in baseball. Thirty-four men had achieved it. Twenty-six of them were Nepali of Sherpa descent, including Babu Chhiri, and Lhakpa wanted to shatter one more Himalayan glass ceiling.”
To learn more about this woman’s incredible story of triumph:
- Read the New York Times’ Article: on their website or download as a pdf.
- Read Lhakpa’s bio from our Wonder Woman celebration.
Malta House of Care is currently seeking nominations for our next class of Wonder Women. We will celebrate the Class of 2023 on May 3, 2023 at The Bushnell. Learn more about submitting a nomination of an extraordinary woman in your life or to learn about being a sponsor for the event please visit our event page.Learn more to becoming part of Wonder Women '23
Malta House of Care is pleased and proud to announce the names of the Wonder Women Class of ’20 – the 10th anniversary class! We celebrated these seven “ordinary women doing extraordinary things” at an awards ceremony and fundraiser on Tuesday, September 7, 2021, 6:00-8:30pm, at the Wampanoag Country Club in West Hartford.