ST. TAMMANY PARISH, La. (WVUE) - Patricia Brister, former St. Tammany Parish President, passed away at the age of 73, her family announced Monday.
In a statement, her family said, "It is with a heavy heart and deep sadness that the family of Patricia P. Brister announces her passing Monday, February 3, 2020. Pat Brister (73), was a loving mother, wife, sister, and grandmother, as well as a successful business owner, volunteer, diplomat, pioneering woman in State and National Republican politics, St. Tammany Parish Councilmember, and most recently the St. Tammany Parish President.
Brister was a role model, mentor, and trailblazer for women in Louisiana politics. Among her numerous talents was the ability to bridge diverse ideologies and collaborate to bring about the best solutions and improvements for the people of St. Tammany Parish, and the State of Louisiana. Her tireless spirit and unstoppable energy made her leadership infectious to all who encountered her. Her style, grace, confidence, and focused determination were among the qualities people admired and loved, especially by her family, those she worked with, her long-time friends and even those knew her from afar.
Brister leaves behind: her daughter Jill Beck Heebe (Clark), sons Matt Beck, Mark Beck, and Ken Brister, as well as her beloved grandchildren Ryan, Ross, Leigh, Kay, Beck, Davis, Libby, William, and Henry. She is preceded in death by her loving husband Joe, after 40 years of marriage, and her late-son Steven Brister.
Arrangements for a public memorial service are being finalized and will be announced in the coming days."
Brister was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. She decided to undergo a double mastectomy and chemotherapy at MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Doctors said she was cancer free a year later.
Brister was the chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party from 2000 to 2004. She also worked as an ambassador under former President George W. Bush.
She was elected president of St. Tammany Parish in 2011. She served two terms in office but was defeated by Mike Cooper in a 2019 runoff.
Brister was a champion of women’s rights and breast cancer patients.
Current St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper said Monday, "Pat Brister was a woman of vision, drive and commitment, who fought for St. Tammany at the local, state and national levels through her many roles in public service. Pat leaves behind a legacy of service, philanthropy, and entrepreneurialism. I, along with the employees of St. Tammany Parish Government and all citizens, extend deepest sympathies to Pat’s family and friends at this difficult time.”
Senator John Kennedy also responded to Brister’s death, saying:
“Pat was a close friend to Becky and me for many years and a tireless advocate for the people of St. Tammany Parish and Louisiana. Pat’s service was always defined by her humility and ability to inspire those around her. St. Tammany Parish saw incredible economic growth under her leadership. I’m only one of many, many people who feel the loss of Pat as a person and a leader. Becky and I are praying for comfort for the entire Brister family during this sad time.”