Staff in the Great Smoky Mountains are mourning the loss of one of the national park's leaders.

Deputy Superintendent Patty Wissinger died Friday night of cancer. Wissinger began her 33-year career as a seasonal campground ranger on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Before coming to the Smokies, Wissinger served as the superintendent of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.

She was 55 years old.