COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Funeral arrangements have been announced for former Columbus Mayor Pro Tem and City Councilor Evelyn Wright Turner Pugh.
Progressive Funeral Home confirms a celebration of life is set for Monday, July 19, 2021 at 11 a.m. at Pugh’s home church, Revelation Missionary Baptist Church located at 203 R.C. Allen Drive in Columbus, Georgia.
Pugh passed away Saturday night at St. Francis-Emory Healthcare after years of fighting Parkinson’s disease.
For three decades, Pugh sat on Council, representing an East Columbus District.
And those who served with her have paused to remember her service and commitment to the people she served. One of those is Superior Court Judge Bobby Peters, a former Columbus mayor.
“Evelyn didn’t serve on city council to make a living,” Peters said. “She served to make sure that others had a better life.”
And she did that by keeping those around her focused, said Pat Hugley Green, a Delta Sigma Theta sorority sister of Pugh’s and the chairperson Muscogee County School Board
“Always what’s important,” Pugh said.”What’s our mission? Why are we doing what we are doing? What service are we rendering? And who is it for? Quite remarkable in her leadership and keeping us focused.”
And she made strong friendships with those who didn’t always see the issues the way she did, said Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson.
“She could love you as a person and hate your ideas,” Henderson said. “And tell you why she hated them. Sounds simple, but is such a rare commodity, particularly now.”
One of her mentors was Bob Wright, a councilor in the 1970s, turned businessman then philanthropist.
Over three decades, Wright says Pugh never brought a hidden agenda to the council table.
Dr. Robert Wright/Philanthropist former councilor
“… Her agenda was all about Columbus and the citizens of Columbus, regardless of where they lived, what they did, their racial makeup, she always fought for the people,” Wright said. “She was the voice for the voiceless. And she made her voice heard.”
She battled Parkinson’s until her life ended Saturday night at St. Francis-Emory Healthcare.
“Even in her remaining days of service she reminded us often that she had Parkinson’s, but Parkinson’s did not have her,” Hugley Green said. “She was still connected to the community and to people which reminded us to work until the end, that fierce work ethic.”
Asked to put her legacy into words, the mayor paused then said … “You can’t fit that into a soundbite. Evelyn was quite frankly one of the best human beings I ever met.”
And one that was always true to herself.
“Evelyn never carried any grudges,” Wright said. “She would express herself forcefully. But it was never with malice. We are going miss Evelyn. We are going to miss her.”