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7-term state senator Pat Lindsey dies

Seven-term state Sen. W.H. “Pat” Lindsey, who was a legislative power on legal issues, found was dead Sunday while on a hunting trip. He was 72.

Lindsey, D-Butler, was discovered dead in his bed Sunday morning while staying with friends on a hunting trip in Boligee in west Alabama. State Sen. Roger Bedford and Lt. Gov. Jim Folsom Jr., who were also on the trip, said Lindsey was discovered when the group started preparing to leave and he didn’t show up.

“He passed away in his sleep. It was a great shock,” Folsom said.

Bedford, D-Russellville, said the coroner told Lindsey’s colleagues that he died of an apparent heart attack.

Bedford and Folsom said Lindsey hunted with them and others Saturday and spent Saturday evening watching a football game and telling politics stories. They said he showed no signs of discomfort on the weekend trip.

“He died doing what he liked to do — hunting, talking politics and watching sports,” Bedford said in a phone interview.

Gov. Bob Riley said Lindsey was a “dedicated public servant and his leadership will be missed.”

Lindsey’s death came as he and other members of the Legislature’s budget committee were preparing to start work Monday on next year’s state budgets.

He was first elected to the Senate in 1966 and served two terms until 1974. He returned in 1990 and was re-elected in 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006.

Lindsey, an attorney who graduated from the University of Alabama School of Law, was a longtime member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he often questioned lawmakers about how their bills would affect everyday people.

“He stopped a lot of bills that looked good on the surface but that would have had bad implications for the people we all serve,” Bedford said.

Lindsey, who had a bachelor’s degree in geology from the University of Alabama, was also an expert on oil and natural gas exploration, and his colleagues sought his advice when bills came up on that issue, Bedford said.

Senate Majority Leader Zeb Little, D-Cullman, said Lindsey was “a senator’s senator, who with intellect, grace and wit, could outplay, outwork and outmaneuver anyone when fighting for the people of Alabama.”

Lindsey’s district in southwest Alabama included all of Escambia and Washington counties and parts of Baldwin, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Mobile and Monroe counties.

During his 12 years on the University of South Alabama board of trustees in Mobile, beginning in 1993, Lindsey was interested in helping the people of Alabama by helping improve USA’s academic and health care missions, USA President Gordon Moulton said Sunday.

“We will truly miss him,” Moulton said.

Survivors include a sister, Kay Kimbrough; two children, Patrick Lindsey and Lori Champion; and two grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending.