Former AP newswoman Pat Leisner dies at 78

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Former newswoman Patricia “Pat” Leisner, who covered major stories including the 1971 opening of Walt Disney World and the 1980 collapse of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge for The Associated Press, has died in Tampa, Florida. She was 78.

Loyless Funeral Home confirmed Leisner died at a hospital on Feb. 27 and that she he had had COPD. A funeral was held Sunday and a mass was held Monday at Our Lady of the Rosary church where she was a member.

Colleagues described Leisner as tireless in her efforts to keep the AP competitive against rival wire service UPI. Yet, she was always kind, even to competitors, and had a soft spot for the underdog. Despite the competition with UPI, Leisner joked and laughed with her UPI counterpart daily.

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