State Rep. Lois DeBerry Has Passed Away

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Long-time Democratic state Rep. Lois DeBerry, of Memphis, died Sunday afternoon, at 68, after facing pancreatic cancer for nearly five years. She was the longest serving member in the state House of Representatives.

From the Associated Press over at The City Paper:

DeBerry continued to fight the disease for nearly two more years. Even when her doctors told her there was no more they could do, she still attended legislative meetings and worked to address the needs of her constituents.

House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh said her resilience in her final days was "unbelievable."

"We'd say, why is she doing this? It's got to be painful, it's got to be very stressful on her," the Ripley Democrat said. "She was one of a kind, there's no question."

DeBerry was the second African-American woman to serve in the General Assembly. She was preceded by the late Dr. Dorothy L. Brown, who was elected in 1967.

Rep. Karen Camper, D-Memphis, said women like Brown and DeBerry inspired other African-American women to run for office.

"Lois DeBerry ... made us feel like it was possible to be in politics and that you can be a strong voice in a male-dominated world," said Camper, who is black.

Read the entire piece here.

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