Tonie Nathan of Eugene, the first woman to win an electoral vote in a presidential election, died early Thursday at age 91, family members confirmed.
Nathan won a single electoral vote as the vice-presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party in 1972.
She died in hospice care from Alzheimer's disease, one of her three sons, Paul Nathan, said.
Tonie Nathan had lived in Eugene since 1968. She was a University of Oregon graduate with a degree in journalism, and she produced and occasionally hosted a talk show on KVAL TV.
Paul Nathan, who lives in Palm Springs, Calif., recalled that he was 21 when he gave his mother some writings by Ayn Rand, the noted philosopher and novelist. That helped spur his mother's political views of freedom, free markets and individuality, and prompted her to switch her political allegiance from the Democratic to Libertarian party, he said.
Tonie Nathan attended the first national Libertarian Party convention in 1972 in Colorado as an interested observer and freelance writer, Paul Nathan said. Much to her astonishment, she ultimately was asked to join the party's national ticket as presidential candidate John Hospers' running mate.
Hospers and Nathan each received the electoral vote of Roger MacBride, a renegade elector from Virginia.
"She was very proud of it ... and a little surprised that it happened," Paul Nathan said of his mother's electoral claim to fame and brief moment on the national political stage.
In subsequent years, Tonie Nathan was a frequent -- and unsuccessful -- candidate for elective office, including runs for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives and Oregon Senate.
Paul Nathan said his mother championed a number of social issues before they became commonplace, such as ending the military draft and the decriminalization of marijuana. He said she opposed the "war on drugs" even though she personally was a lifelong naturopath who never smoked cigarettes or took drugs.
She was a fiscal conservative who also advocated for historic preservation, abortion rights and a flat tax, he said.
Nathan and her husband, Charles Nathan, were married in Los Angeles in 1942. Charles Nathan, a songwriter and a playwright, died in 2012.
In addition to Paul, the Nathans' surviving sons are Larry of Medford and Greg of Springfield. For all her political involvement, Greg Nathan said Thursday that what he'll remember most is her strength as a mother raising three sons.
"She set a good example, the clean way she lived her life," he said. "She was a very considerate person."
A memorial service is planned for 5 p.m. Monday at Sunset Hills Cemetery & Funeral Home in south Eugene. A reception will follow at 6:30 p.m. at the Downtown Athletic Club. Remembrances may be sent to the Bridgeway House, a nonprofit agency in Springfield that serves children with autism and their families.
Greg Nathan noted that his mother died on the first day of spring -- a day of rebirth -- and also on the birthday of a grandson, Benjamin, who has autism.