Longtime court employee dies

Published 10:56 pm Friday, May 18, 2012

Many in Suffolk are mourning the death this week of a longtime employee of the Circuit Court Clerk’s office.

Eula Mae Williams died Monday. She had retired as a deputy clerk in 2006 after 31 years in the clerk’s office.

Her daughter, Debora Sears, said her mother was the first black female to work in the office.

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“She was just a loved woman,” said Jackie Payne, another daughter.

Circuit Court Clerk Randy Carter said Williams was there for three years after he was first elected, and he had also known her in his former role as a prosecutor.

“People would come in and ask for her,” Carter said Friday. “She was that well-known. She was the kind of person that would go the extra mile, then a mile more to help people.”

Carter recalled one incident when Williams came to visit the office after she retired and wound up helping a customer at the counter.

“That’s just the way she was,” he said. “She cared greatly for the citizens and wanted to help everybody out. She knew just about every aspect of this office.”

Retired Circuit Court Judge Everett Bagnell affirmed Carter’s assessment.

“She was a wonderful person,” Bagnell said. “She always had a smile for you.”

Shawanee Cooley, who works for the assessor’s office, has long called Williams her guardian angel.

It was a hot summer day several years ago, and Cooley accidentally locked herself in the vestibule of the assessor’s office, which is located across from the courthouse parking lot. She didn’t have a cell phone to call for help.

“I just cried and I prayed,” she said. “But then, out of nowhere, Eula Williams comes strolling across the parking lot.”

Williams helped calm her down and called the fire department, who came and unlocked the door, Cooley said.

“Every since that day, I’ve always called her my guardian angel,” she said.

Carter said Williams “cared genuinely about people and wanted to help people.”

“In the picture dictionary beside ‘customer service’ is her picture,” he added.

City Council members also recognized Williams during their meeting Wednesday night.

“She was a dear, dear person,” Councilman Jeffrey Gardy said.

“She worked for the city, and she was very faithful for so many years,” Vice Mayor Charles Brown added.

In addition, Williams held numerous positions in her church, Macedonia African Methodist Episcopal Church. She was a member of the missionary society and the choir, a mother usher, vacation Bible school teacher, Sunday school leader and more.

She is survived by two daughters, eight grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and three brothers. She will be buried today.