(Memphis) Colleagues, friends and family gathered to pay their final respects to the Honorable State Representative Lois DeBerry.
A memorial service was held for DeBerry today at the First Baptist Church Broad. She is being remembered for her legacy of service.
Speaker after speaker talked about Rep. DeBerry as being passionate about the community she served and being among the most effective leaders in government.
“A long time from now, generations from now, people will talk about how when they were younger they were inspired by Lois DeBerry to a life of service and commitment and faith,” said Former Vice President, Al Gore.
Gore paid his respects to the woman who gave him a rousing nomination during his run for president. He was one of many politicians who came to pay their respects. Governor Bill Haslam and former Governor Phil Bredesen both attended.
Haslam said, “So many of them knew that I liked Lois so much that when they wanted to ask for something they would bring Lois with them. I finally found out that trick.”
“Of course I’m feeling the pain but I’ll keep my head held high and try to continue some of the works that she did,” said State Rep. Larry Miller, (D) Memphis.
Rep. DeBerry died last Sunday after battling pancreatic cancer. She was among the most influential people in politics in Tennessee and among the longest serving women in politics in the country.
“Mentor, political giant and woman of faith and compassion a leader beyond measure all of those terms I think about when I think about Lois DeBerry,” said Louisiana State Sen. Sharon Broome.
“She belonged to the nation. The President of the National Black Caucus of State legislators, State Leaders Foundation. She was involved everywhere,” said friend and former colleague, Roscoe Dixon.
DeBerry is remembered as championing many programs effecting education, health and criminal justice, especially those relating to children. She worked up until the last days before her death. Her husband, Charles Traughber, said she was still making early morning phone calls.
Traughber said, “The disease gave her strength to do even more and to do it even better.”
“She was a fighter in life as in death. She beat this cancer thing. She was in remission at least twice and we talked about it and she just danced for joy. It was a miracle each time,” said State Sen. Mark Norris, (R) Collierville.