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Citizens and city leaders react to Evelyn Turner Pugh’s passing

A long time Columbus city councilwoman lost her battle to Parkinson’s Disease. People who knew her, remember her for her fiery spirit and commitment to public service.
Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 9:41 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - A long time Columbus city councilwoman lost her battle to Parkinson’s Disease.

People who knew her, remember her for her fiery spirit and commitment to public service.

The legacy Evelyn Turner Pugh leaves behind is a monumental one, according to many people around the Fountain City. The Former Mayor Pro Tem was the first African American female to hold the position, and will be remembered for how she served the citizens of Columbus.

“The legacy that she leaves is one of somebody understood what local elected service is all about,” said Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson. “Evelyn was one of the most ferocious and tenacious battlers when she believed in something I’ve ever seen. She is looking down on all of us right now.”

Henderson added when it came to debating about something she believed in she would also separate the topic from the person, and would always remain respectful.

“My favorite saying is you’ll never die as long as someone remembers you. It’ll be a long long time before Evelyn Turner Pugh dies in Muscogee County. Because we will remember her for a long long time in our hearts and our minds, and she will be missed.”, said Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit Judge Bobby Peters. “Her finger prints all over the projects, and all over the city. I’m really going to miss her.”

According to Peters, Pugh served on city council with him and during his tenure as Mayor of Columbus.

People who knew the Carver High Graduate told News Leader 9 she looked out for the citizens and truly understood what public service was all about.

According to District 3 Councilman, Bruce Huff, when he looks back on all she did for the Fountain City, one thing that comes to mind was the expansion of Forrest Road in 2017 which was a project she was instrumental in making happen.

He tells News Leader 9, the project to convert the former two-lane road to a four-lane bridge was just one of the accomplishments she was instrumental in improving the Fountain City. Construction began in 2014 to convert the once two lane road to a four lane, including a bridge along Forrest Road. It saw it’s completion in 2017, just two years before Pugh retired from her district four seat in 2019.

“She worked, she said, for her whole career trying to get the Forrest Road project done. The widening of Forrest road.”, said Huff.

Councilor Bruce Huff added, tomorrow is the first day the city council goes back into the council chambers since COVID started. He said it’s like a reminder of what she meant to the city, where she was meant to be and where they would expect to see her guiding the Fountain City into the future.

“She always stood up for this particular area. She did. She did so much.”, said Sallie Veasley, a Columbus resident.

Leroy Cooper added, she left an impression on his family as well.

“Years ago, when she was an executive up at Blue Cross and Blue shield, my daughter was an intern with her. She taught her all the things she needed to know about insurance. As a matter of fact, that’s her career path now.”, said Cooper.

News Leader 9 also spoke with Marcus Deon Turner, Evelyn Pugh’s son.

According to him, the family knows she’s in a better place and are happy about that, especially after almost 20 years of being in pain and suffering from Parkinson’s Disease.

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