Former St. Tammany Parish president Pat Brister has passed away

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COVINGTON – Former St. Tammany Parish president Patricia “Pat” Brister has passed away. She was 73.

A spokesman tells WGNO that Brister died following a brief illness that was diagnosed after she lost her reelection campaign in November.

Brister’s passing was announced in a statement from her family on Monday morning.

“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 who 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.”

The family of Pat Brister

Brister served as president of St. Tammany until November 2018, when she lost a runoff election to current president Mike Cooper.

Brister finished out her term, and Cooper was sworn into office less than one month ago.

“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,” Cooper said. “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.”

House Minority Whip Stave Scalise also issued a statement on Brister’s passing.

“Pat Brister was a friend and a dedicated public servant who cared deeply about St. Tammany Parish,” Scalise said. “She served with honor in many levels of government, from her work to provide more opportunities for women in President Bush’s Administration, to her recent years serving as St. Tammany’s Parish President, even while battling cancer. Jennifer and I are saddened by her passing, and we are keeping her family in our prayers during this difficult time.”

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said Brister was a tremendous public servant and said that he and his wife are praying for the Brister family.

A public memorial service is in the planning stages. Final details are expected to be announced soon.

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