Legislator, columnist found dead

By Travis Mounts

Patsy Terrell, a freshman legislator in the Kansas House of Representatives and a food columnist known to many Kansans, has died.

Terrell was found dead Wednesday in her hotel room in Topeka, according to the Topeka Capitol-Journal and other news sources.

Terrell, a Democrat representing the 102nd House District in Topeka, posted on Facebook just after 5 a.m. Wednesday morning: “It’s 5:08 a.m. and I still haven’t slept. There’s much excitement that the Brownback experiment ended last night with our override votes.”

Terrell was one of several Democrats who pulled off upsets in the November election, part of a wave of anti-Brownback sentiment from voters that increased the ranks of moderate Republicans and Democrats in the Capitol.

Terrell wrote a food column, “Cook’s Library,” that ran for a number of years statewide in Kansas Country Living, a magazine published by Kansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. When that publication decided to stop publishing her monthly column, she offered it to other publications. It ran most months in the WestSide Story and East Wichita News, and at various times in The Times-Sentinel, the Haysville Sun-Times and the Star-Argosy.

Rep. Steve Crum (D-Haysville) of the 98th District, another freshman legislator, shared this: “Patsy sat right next to me on the House floor. This is a terrible loss for us. Please keep her and her family and friends in your thoughts and prayers. Also please keep the legislators in your thoughts as well.”

Her body was found in her hotel room Wednesday. A cause was not immediately known.