COLUMBIA, S.C. — The widow of a popular South Carolina governor credited with helping make the Republican Party a powerful force in the state has died.

Family spokesman Bob McAlister tells The Associated Press that Iris Campbell died overnight Monday at her home in Debordieu (DEH-bih-doo) in Georgetown County after a brief illness. She was 77.

As South Carolina’s first lady, Iris Campbell said she hoped people would remember her for work to help children.

McAlister said Campbell’s family will announce funeral arrangements later. She leaves behind two sons, Carroll and Mike Campbell.

Gov. Carroll Campbell died in 2005 after battling Alzheimer’s disease. He was governor from 1987 until 1995.

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