Midge Costanza dies at 77


Margaret “Midge” Costanza, the first woman to hold the office of Assistant to the President of the United States, died in San Diego Tuesday after a battle with cancer, officials said. She was 77.

Costanza was appointed to that job by then-President Jimmy Carter.

In 2005, she joined the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office as a public affairs officer.

She first met President Carter in 1974 when he traveled to Rochester, N.Y., to help in her campaign for Congress. Although she lost that race, Carter liked her so much he asked her to second his nomination at the 1976 Democratic National Convention, officials said.

Carter later appointed Costanza to the post of Assistant to the President for Public Liaison. For the first 20 months of the Carter Administration, she received national media attention as his outspoken and committed “Window on America.” At the time of her promotion to Assistant to the President, she was the first woman to hold that office.

A memorial service is planned in San Diego at an undetermined date next month. A private family service will be held in Rochester, N.Y.