Co-founder of the Rape Crisis Center

Date of Birth: September 26, 1921
Date of Death: November 5, 2009
Place of Birth: Centralia, IL
Arrival in Las Vegas: 1966
Work/Contribution: Community/Activist
Date of Interview: 1996
Interviewed by: Joanne L. Goodwin
Florence McClure is known as “Hurricane Flo” because of her tireless efforts to improve conditions for women in the state of Nevada. She co-founded a rape-crisis organization, Community Action Against Rape (CAAR), now known as the Rape Crisis Center. Her advocacy for women in the state has also led to improvements for the female prisoners, improved police-community relations and better investigation of sex crimes.

Florence McClure moved to Las Vegas in 1966. She was instrumental in the opening of the Frontier Hotel. She helped build the new hotel into a major resort on the Las Vegas Strip. McClure made history as one of the first female executives in the resort industry. However, she did not limit her activities to the resort industry and also became active in local civic organizations. McClure helped start the Las Vegas chapter of Soroptomist International. In 1966, she joined the Las Vegas chapter of the League of Women Voters. She applied her civic duty to the State Legislature through her work in the Nevada Women’s Lobby.

In 1969, McClure decided to return to college and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from UNLV. She then co-founded Community Action Against Rape (CAAR) with Sandi Petta in 1973. McClure directed CAAR for twelve years. Under her leadership, CAAR was able to change the way law enforcement individuals treated victims of rape. CAAR worked with judges, police officers and medical practioners to increase sensitivity toward victims of assault. Hospitals began to keep rape kits on hand and police attended sensitivity training. CAAR has provided important support and resources for the women of Las Vegas for more than twenty years.

Florence McClure also championed the cause of Nevada’s incarcerated women. She lobbied the state successfully to locate the women’s prison near Clark County, instead of a proposed rural site. The placement near Las Vegas allowed the prisoners to be closer to their children. In 2007, the state legislature voted to rename the prison in her honor.

Florence McClure died on November 5, 2009.

Florence McClure truly earned her nickname of “Hurricane Flo” through her constant efforts to improve the lives of Las Vegas women.