Pat Brister has been lauded as a graceful, compassionate, extraordinary woman with vision, drive, tenacity, and follow-through. A mentor, a trailblazer, an exceptional example of leadership. Here in St. Tammany where her heart and soul were anchored — we knew her best. She loved St. Tammany. She loved the people, the politics and the possibilities. She served St. Tammany in Parish Government for 16 years, but she served in countless other ways. She was a force driven by her passion for helping people who created lasting, generational changes for the betterment of her community and her state.
She was instrumental in the start of Hope House, an active participant in builds for Habitat for Humanity St. Tammany Chapters. She was called upon to serve on boards throughout St. Tammany and beyond, including: the St. Tammany Hospital System, Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas, Louisiana State Museum, Children’s Advocacy Center, St. Tammany Commission on Families, and Volunteers of America. She served as Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. She participated in You Night, Cancer Survivor Empowerment Programs.
She spoke with the youth of St. Tammany and personally recognized their achievements. She loved the Veterans’ community and worked to raise awareness for their causes. Behavioral healthcare was a cause very dear to her heart, and she championed her vision of Safe Haven, as it became a reality. She deeply felt others’ pain and provided resources for help, or personally helped them.
She cherished her family. She was a friend to many and a close friend to fewer, but still many — who describe her as someone who loved to entertain and cook for them. Also, someone who loved to dance and sing to the oldies, and someone who made a heck of an Old Fashioned.
She and her husband of over 40 years, Joe, were partners in parenthood, business, and life. They faced and defeated illness and dove successfully into politics. She called him her biggest champion. She nurtured him through illness in his final years until his death in 2017.
Pat Brister will be remembered as a woman and a public servant leader who lived with passion, vision, purpose and intent. She loved St. Tammany and fought to make it better every single day. She would likely want each of us to continue to do the same.