WICHITA, Kan. For more than 20 years, Kristi Parker served as a voice for the Kansas LGBTQ community, especially with her Wichita-based publication, "Liberty Press."
Parker died Saturday. This week, those who knew Parker well spoke with Eyewitness News about her life and legacy. They says they'll remember Parker for her courage, strength and tolerance.
Brett Hogan met Parker when she came into his office looking to sell advertisement for the Liberty Press. Hogan and Parker quickly became friends.
"She was always willing to listen to your side but she was also open enough to let you talk and not judge you right off the bat, really give you that 'I want to hear what you have to say,'" Hogan says.
Parker died from a stroke Saturday at the age of 49. She started Liberty Press in 1994. In 10 years, it went from a 12-page paper with five advertisements to 72 pages with 170 business advertisements.
In 2004, Parker talked about the quick success of Liberty Press.
"The gay and lesbian community wants to spend their money with people who support our community. It's as simple as that," she said.
"She really held that good voice to where it made people want to read and want to be part of what she was doing," he says.
He says he feels Parker was a trailblazer.
"Nobody was doing what she was doing. Nobody was giving, especially in the time that the Liberty Press and our business came about," Hogan says.
Hogans says he hopes Parker's legacy lives on.
"We miss her. We thank her for everything she's done for the community. We love that she didn't hold back," he says.
A Celebration of Life for Parker is set for 3:30 p.m. Friday (March 16) at First Unitarian Universalist Church (7202 E 21st St N).