State Representative Lois DeBerry, 68, passed away Sunday after battling pancreatic cancer since she was first diagnosed in 2009.
The Memphis Democrat was first elected in 1972 and was the longest serving member of the House of Representatives. She was the first African-American female elected to the State Legislature from Memphis and Shelby County.
In April, it was announced that DeBerry was undergoing treatment for a reoccurrence of pancreatic cancer.
Deidre Malone's office sent out a press release stating, "Representative DeBerry represented this community with passion and dedication across the nation and world. For her, there was no greater cause than serving. Children, her community, and most importantly her family, were her passions."
DeBerry's family, including her husband Charles Traughber, son Michael Boyer and other members of the Traughber and DeBerry families, are requesting privacy during this time. In addition to her son, DeBerry was a surrogate mother and mentor to many.
DeBerry grew up in Memphis, graduating from Hamilton High School and LeMoyne-Owen College.
The state representative was the first female Speaker Pro-Tempore and only African-American to serve in that capacity to date.
Funeral arrangements are pending and will be announced when they are finalized.
DeBerry fights back (November 2012)
Stretch of Whitehaven road named for Rep DeBerry (November 2012)