BROOKSVILLE - U.S. Senate candidate Bill McCollum has interrupted his campaign for the funeral of his stepmother, Alma McCollum, who died on Tuesday.
"You can tell he's just devastated," said Joe Mason, a close friend and a lawyer in McCollum's hometown of Brooksville. "Though Alma was his stepmother, she basically raised him."
Bill McCollum, a longtime U.S. representative from suburban Orlando, is one of several Republicans running for Bob Graham's Senate seat.
Alma McCollum, who was 86, was a native of Sumter County and a graduate of what is now Florida State University. She taught elementary school in Wildwood, Bushnell and Brooksville.
Though she suffered from arthritis, her health had been good until she was admitted to Brooksville Regional Hospital with an infection a few weeks ago, Mason said. "They just couldn't get the infection under control," he said.
Mrs. McCollum is survived by her husband, Ira McCollum, and stepson, a sister and three grandsons.
Visitation will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday at First United Methodist Church in Brooksville. The funeral is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday at Purcell Funeral Home Chapel in Bushnell.