Florida environmentalist, Janet Reno’s sister dies at 81
STUART, Fla. (AP) — Maggy Hurchalla, an environmentalist who fought to protect Florida’s wetlands and was a staunch supporter of her sister Janet Reno, the former U.S. attorney general, has died. She passed away Saturday at age 81.
The nonprofit group Friends of the Everglades confirmed Hurchalla’s death, calling her a legend.
“Maggy’s impact on Florida’s conservation movement cannot be overstated,” the group posted on its website, adding her granddaughter Kym Hurchalla is part of its staff. “Her advocacy was fueled by a deep love for Florida’s wilderness.”
Hurchalla served for 20 years as a Martin County commissioner. She also traveled to speak about her sister Reno, who under President Bill Clinton became the first female U.S. attorney general. Hurchalla strongly supported Reno’s 2002 campaign for governor in Florida.
In 2013, she lent her voice for an episode of “The Simpsons” showing Reno as a character. Her sister could not speak longer lines because of her Parkinson’s, which contributed to her death in 2016.
Hurchalla played a key role in environmental restoration, serving on the Governor’s Commission for a Sustainable South Florida. She was known for kayaking through the Everglades near her home in Stuart, Florida.
“She was a creature of nature, and she took us all along for the voyage: Her family, friends, children, so many members of the county and complete strangers who just wanted to go on nature walks,” her daughter, Jane Hurchalla, told the Treasure Coast Newspapers.
Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by Hurchalla that sought to set aside a $4 million judgment over her criticism of a rock mining project near the Everglades.
Her son, George Hurchalla, told the newspaper that she was recovering Saturday from a second hip surgery when she suffered cardiac arrest at home.