Rep. Ann Peoples, D-Westbrook, talks to her husband Patrick before the start of a legislative committee in this 2013 file photo. She died unexpectedly on Tuesday.

AUGUSTA, Maine — State Rep. Ann Peoples, who served in the Maine Legislature for more than a decade and was a Westbrook city councilor, died unexpectedly Tuesday at age 72.

Peoples was in her fifth term representing the northern part of Westbrook in the House of Representatives. She won the seat in 2018 after serving four terms from 2008 to 2016. She was on the Westbrook City Council at the time of her death and had served there and on the city’s planning board intermittently since the 1990s.

She was a fixture in the State House during her legislative tenure. After her husband, Patrick, had a debilitating stroke in 2012, he accompanied her during her days in Augusta. He often sat in the rear of the House chamber. She wheeled him to lunch and her committee hearings.

“It’s just what you do,” Peoples told the Bangor Daily News in 2013. “You just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I consider myself fortunate because I have a roof over my head, food, work that I love and a companion who I love very much.”

The two met when they worked together at the S.D. Warren Paper Mill in Westbrook and married in 1981. Patrick Peoples died in 2017 and Ann Peoples is survived by five children and six grandchildren. She most recently served on the Legislature’s labor committee.

A spokeswoman for House Speaker Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, said Peoples died unexpectedly on Tuesday at Mercy Hospital in Portland. The date of a special election to fill Peoples’ seat has not been announced.

In a statement, Gideon called her “a devoted public servant, a passionate advocate for her community, and a loving wife, mother and grandmother.” Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, called her “an ardent supporter of fair labor practices and public education.”

“Her fundamental belief in the power of public service inspired all those around her,” Gov. Janet Mills said in a statement. “I have lost a cherished friend and the State of Maine has lost a fierce lawmaker who made our state a brighter, better place. I will miss her dearly.”

Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after three years as a reporter at the Kennebec Journal. A Hallowell native who now lives in Augusta, he graduated from the University of Maine in...