AUSTIN, Texas - Texas lost several political figures in 2017, from a mega-donor to a former governor.
August 11 marked the first time since 2006 that a former Texas governor laid in state at the Capitol. Mark White was the second to last Democratic Governor in Texas.
Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, recalled his memories of White at the August ceremonies.
"Mark will always be in my mind as someone who did the right thing and was willing to suffer the political consequences," he said.
White made a name for himself through his efforts to improve public education. He successfully championed the "no pass, no play" bill that kept athletes with failing grades off the field. The measure faced backlash in a state where high school football is paramount, but colleagues say White cared about more than what was popular.
In November, Texas Democrats mourned again as they lost mega-donor Steve Mostyn. At 46, he was known for donating millions of dollars to Democratic candidates across the state and at the national level.
Mostyn's wife, Amber, said the Houston trial attorney experienced "a sudden onset and battle with a mental health issue."
"If you or a loved one are thinking about suicide, or experiencing a health crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline right now at 1-800-273-8255," she said.
In October, former State Representative Bob Richardson passed away after "a long illness." Relatives said he was bigger than life.
"His passion was evident in everything he did," his obituary said. "Whether he was reporting the nightly news on KTBC television in Austin, building a successful law practice, serving constituents as State Representative for Travis County, starting an acting career or cheering on his beloved Texas Longhorns, Richardson's enthusiasm was contagious."
Richardson served three terms at the Texas Legislature. The Austin Republican led efforts to amend the Texas Constitution to include a Crime Victim's Bill of Rights.
As 2017 concludes, the San Antonio community prepares to lay to rest one of its best known movers and shakers. Ruth Jones McClendon's career included serving as a probation officer, a San Antonio City Councilwoman and 10 terms as a State Representative.
"I think I will remember her most by her amazing sense of humor," former State Senator Leticia van de Putte said.
Friends say McClendon authored almost 150 bills that are now state law. A testament, they say, to her ability to work across party lines for the betterment of Texas.
"She believed in people, she believed in the efforts of a community," San Antonio District 2 Councilman Cruz Shaw said. "She believed in a collaborative spirit."