HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) – On weekends during the legislative session, Rep. Patsy Terrell, D-Hutchinson, would come home to Reno County and meet friends and constituents at the Anchor Inn, giving them a glimpse into what was happening at the state level.
On Saturday, those same friends and constituents met to remember Terrell, who passed away unexpectedly in Topeka this week.
“We’d talk, it may have been about politics, or maybe it wasn’t about politics, but we would just gather as friends so it was very appropriate that tonight we honor her legacy and just our friendship with Patsy to be here at the Anchor,” friend Steve Snook said.
Terrell had a penchant for shiny brooches which she wore often in her work at the legislature. Friends honored her memory by wearing their shiniest brooches, including some male friends who wore Terrell’s actual brooches. Friend Mark Reddig shared a photo with friends of a pair of shoes that belonged to Terrell, with brooches on the tops of the shoes.
Her campaign team said it became a moral obligation for the freshman legislator to pursue politics; that she truly had the best interests in mind of her constituents and wanted to make a difference.
“We couldn’t be more proud of the job she did while she was there and it’s a sad day to be losing her in that position,” friend Betty Taylor said. Taylor was the chair of Reno County Democrats when Patsy made her run.
Terrell’s last work in the legislature was the Tuesday historic veto override of one of Governor Brownback’s old tax plans, to which Terrell voted “yes” and posted a photo on Instagram about her excitement.
“She had to have been on cloud nine after that vote,” Taylor said.
Terrell posted to her “Patsy for Kansas” Facebook page on Wednesday morning: “You’re waking up in a Kansas where the Brownback experiment has ended. Good morning!”
It would be her last post before police found Terrell dead in her hotel room on Wednesday after she didn’t show up for the afternoon sessions, causing concern for her comrades. She was 55 years old. They have ruled her death of natural causes but have not specified otherwise.
Gov. Brownback tweeted on Wednesday evening: “My condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Rep. Terrell after her sudden passing today. She will be missed. #ksleg.”