Former House Minority Leader Mark Abel has died after battling cancer. He was 61.

An e-mail distributed by the House Democratic Caucus says that a Memorial Service will be held in Festus on Friday, April 1st.

Abel, a Democrat from Festus, served two separate terms in the Missouri House. He served from 1985 until 1991 when Democrats held the majority in the chamber. He saw Democrats lose their majority to Republicans during his second tenure, from 1999 until 2005. He won election as Speaker Pro Tem in 2001, but when Republicans took control of the chamber in the fall elections of 2002 he was relegated to House Minority Floor Leader.

Abel won election as Jefferson County Treasurer after leaving the legislature, where he served until his death.