ORANGE, Texas — Members of the Orange community are mourning the death of a former mayor whose accomplishments they say paved the way for people like her.
Former Orange Mayor Essie Bellfield died on Sunday at the age of 89. Bellfield was the first Black mayor of Orange and has been the city’s only female mayor.
Bellfield’s loved one said civil rights was her passion and that she loved her family and to help those around her.
“Mrs. Bellfield loved God, her church, Salem United Methodist Church, her children and grandchildren,” Marie Sanders, Bellfield’s goddaughter, said. “She loved the community and did anything she could to help.”
Orange Mayor Larry Spears said the former mayor was a great leader who led by example. Spears remembers Bellfield as a woman who loved her community.
“She loved everyone that she came into contact with,” Mayor Spears, said. “She always had an encouraging word. She showed you God’s love from her actions and through the way that she volunteered and gave back to so many in the community.”
Spears said Bellfield’s achievement of becoming the first Black mayor of Orange allowed for people like him to follow in her footsteps.
“If it was not for people like her who came before us, to give us an example of what could be possible if you really just sought after it and worked hard, we would never be where we are today,” Mayor Spears said.
Spears said Bellfield was a true leader of the community, and the community she led will dearly miss her.
“On behalf of the City of Orange, we sincerely and wholeheartedly wish to honor and recognize Mrs. Bellfield for all of her efforts, for all of her work, and for all her wonderful gifts that she has given to this community for many, many decades,” Spears said.
Funeral arrangements have not been posted, but we will update with more if and when we receive more confirmed information.