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Officials mourn loss of Tacoma City Councilmember Catherine Ushka

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(The Center Square) – Tacoma City Councilmember Catherine Ushka has passed away nearly two years after announcing she had stage 3 cervical cancer.

Ushka served as the representative for Tacoma’s District 4 since she was first elected in 2017. She was appointed to serve as the deputy mayor in 2022.

That same year, Ushka announced her cancer diagnosis in a social media post.

The City of Tacoma announced Ushka’s passing on Thursday in a news release.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Councilmember Catherine Ushka,” Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards said in the news release. “Here in Tacoma, she will be especially remembered for her fierce advocacy for the Eastside and South End, her willingness to stand for those whose voices are so often left out, and putting her hands in the dirt as well as rising to the highest levels of policy to make lasting change.”

Prior to serving on the Tacoma City Council, Ushka served in the U.S. Navy Reserve, deploying after the Sept. 11, 2021, terrorist attacks.

Ushka also served eight years on the Tacoma Public Schools Board of Directors, including three years as president, and was the board of health chair at the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department Director Chantell Harmon Reed said Ushka worked as the board chair during some of the department’s most challenging years, including during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“She led the board in declaring racism as a public health crisis, and even through bouts of personal illness, was unrelenting in her expectation that we make good on this commitment and serve our community compassionately and effectively,” Reed said.

Ushka is survived by her daughter Amelia, son Gus, father Mike, brother David and partner Marty.