South Florida is mourning the passing of Shirley Gibson, the City of Miami Gardens first Mayor.

Her daughter confirmed her death to the Miami Herald on Monday, October 16th.

Gibson, a former Miami-Dade Police officer turned politician, helped to incorporate Miami Gardens.

“Mayor Gibson was a pioneer and a visionary in our community. She was very instrumental in the establishment and evolution of Miami Gardens,” current Mayor Rodney Harris said in a statement. “Her legacy of leadership and dedication to our city will always be remembered. Our thoughts, hearts, and prayers are with her family during this difficult time.”

She served as mayor of the city from 2003 to 2012 and is responsible for bringing new development to the city, including the creation of the popular Jazz in the Gardens music

Shirley Gibson’s remarkable journey began as a Miami-Dade police officer before evolving into an elected official. She served as Miami Gardens’ mayor from the city’s establishment in 2003 until her term ended in 2012. During that time, Gibson worked tirelessly to instill a sense of pride in the city, especially as it celebrated its 20th anniversary.

Her efforts were visible in the form of community cleanups, road improvements, and enhanced landscaping. Gibson saw the city’s incorporation as an act of self-determination, driven by a desire to see tax dollars used effectively for the community’s benefit.