State Sen. Marilyn Jarrett, a prominent Republican lawmaker from Mesa, died early Friday, the day after she was found unconscious in her office at the state Capitol. Jarrett, 67, was pronounced dead at 1:44 a.m. of a massive brain hemorrhage at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, said the senator’s oldest daughter, LeAnn Arganbright.
“There’s been a huge outpouring of love and support. She was very well-loved and respected,” Arganbright said. “She loved what she did and loved the people she served.”
Arganbright said her mother, who had went through several surgeries in recent years, knew she was in bad health and was prepared for the worst.
Although her death was unexpected, Jarrett had put together a list of things she felt needed to be done in case of her death, Arganbright said. “We’re just following that right now,” she said.
Arganbright described Jarrett as a caring and loving mother who enjoyed singing and playing the piano. She also said her mother was a tough competitor at board games.
“She was ruthless with those games,” she said.
Jarrett was born in Snowflake and is survived by five children and 14 grandchildren. Funeral services had yet to be scheduled Friday.
Jarrett was rushed to the hospital about 1:30 p.m. Thursday when her assistant found her unconscious in her third-floor office.
She had apparently been feeling tired and decided to take a nap during lunch. When she did not wake up, her assistant called 911 and summoned Sen. Robert Cannell, D-Yuma, who also is a doctor who attempted to revive her.
After being admitted to the hospital, doctors placed Jarrett on a respirator until she died.
Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, who had known Jarrett for years, said she was a dear friend who would be “sorely missed.”
Pearce said he would frequently carpool with Jarrett to the Capitol.
“I tell you, we had a great time. We would laugh from the time we left my house until we got to the Capitol,” he said. “She was a great lady who loved the state of Arizona and her community. She was a wonderful mother, grandmother and a wonderful lady.”
Likewise, Sen. Karen Johnson, R-Mesa, also shared rides with Jarrett to the Capitol and described her as one of her best friends over the past 20 years.
Johnson met Jarrett in the late 1980s when she first got involved in local politics and said they were more than just legislative colleagues.
She said they were shopping buddies who would often meet outside of the Legislature. Most recently, Johnson said, they went to a movie last weekend.
“It will be very difficult to come in (the state Senate) on Monday morning and have her not here,” an emotional Johnson said Friday afternoon.
There will be no voting on the Senate floor when it reconvenes Monday afternoon, said Senate spokesman Nick Simonetta. However, committee hearings will still be heard at their regular times.
With Jarrett’s passing, Republicans will begin the process of replacing her.
Party members from her precinct will nominate three candidates, who by law must be Republican.
From there, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will select one.
Even though she was not term limited out of office, Jarrett had plans to run for a justice of the peace seat in Mesa. Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Mesa, had filed paperwork in January to run for Jarrett’s open seat.
Jarrett had served in the Legislature since 1995 when she was elected to the House.
She was later appointed to the Senate in 2001 after former Sen. Rusty Bowers, R-Mesa, resigned to become president of Arizona Rock Products Association.