Long serving Palestine District 3 City Councilmember Vickey Chivers passed away Tuesday, March 21.
“We have truly suffered a great loss this evening, and the reality has not set in,” said Mayor Justin Florence. “Mrs. Chivers has not only been a constant in our city government for 20 plus years, but a pillar in the community for much longer than that. Not only have we lost a great city and community leader, but we have lost a sister, mother, cousin, mentor and friend. On behalf of the City of Palestine and the Florence family, our thoughts and prayers go out to Shontae and all of Mrs. Chivers' family.”
“The passing of Ms. Vickey deeply saddens the City of Palestine, " said City Manager Teresa Herrera. “We join the grief that overwhelms her family and friends. I will genuinely miss our monthly lunch meeting at one of our local Mexican restaurants. Ms. Vickey did not speak much, but when she did, I listened. Her leadership and friendship will be missed.”
Chivers was in her 21st year of service on the Palestine City Council. She was a life-long resident of Palestine who graduated from Palestine High School. She completed two associates degrees at Trinity Valley Junior College and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from DeVry University. She worked for Palestine Regional Medical Center, Palestine schools and the city of Palestine. She retired from the U.S. Postal Service.
Chivers took on the role of mayor pro tem multiple times in her city council career with the last being after former mayor Dana Goolsby resigned in February 2022. She made her first run for mayor in May 2022. Her initiatives included no additional city taxes, to make repairs to the roads and the water system and be a more inclusive city government. Chivers believed her success in District 3, as its Councilmember, was due to looking out for her residents’ needs and serving as their voice.
“I just love serving people,” Chivers said during her 2022 Mayoral campaign. “And I think residents are happier when their problems are solved.”
Chivers encouraged citizens to be involved in government so city leaders knew their needs.
“I want the people to be involved,” she said. “It’s not all about us (the council); it’s about all of us, the people.”
Those that served with Chivers have shared how deeply she will be missed.
“It was so sad to hear of the loss of Vickey,” Jordan said. “I have known her since I was a teenager and enjoyed working with her during my six years on the council.
“As a council member, she always carried herself with the utmost respect and dignity, representing District 3 with class. She was soft spoken, but when she did speak, there was quality to what she had to say. With Vickey’s passing, we have lost a lot of knowledge, this is a huge loss to the city. Her legacy is solid and her loss will be felt. My prayers go out to her family.
District 5 Councilmember Krissy Clark served with Chivers on the council for two years.
“Ms. Vickey served faithfully for over 20 years,” Clark said. “Her service and dedication are a testament to her love for our city and the people in it. City Council meetings will not be the same without her, and she will be greatly missed.”
Former mayor and councilmember Dana Goolsby worked in city government with Chivers for four years.
“Vickey didn’t say much but she meant what she said,” Goolsby said. “Over the years that I had known her, it was rare she felt compelled to wade into the fray. And if you tried to pull her in she was likely to put her hands up and head down, as if to suggest you were crazy if you thought she was going there.
“Vickey served her community and her family well. My heart goes out to those she leaves behind."
Former mayor and councilmember Steve Presley served with Chivers for 16 and a half years on the Palestine City Council.
“She was a servant to the citizens of Palestine,” Presley said. “She was a clear, level headed thinker, a real asset to the council. She was a very kind, thoughtful, considerate person and often when the council was voting on particular issues she would be the voice of those who might not otherwise be represented.
“She was a quiet person, but she always knew what was going on in the city and the community and would speak up on matters that she felt were important or needed to be said. I think she deserves special recognition for all the work that she did for the community over the years.”
According to Herrera, the Palestine City Council will meet within the next 10 days to call for a Special Election in November 2023 for the District 3 vacancy.
In her lifetime, Chivers held board positions on many civic organizations, including the National Association for Advancement of Colored People, National League of Cities, National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials, Texas Municipal League, Texas Association of Black City Council Members, Sisters United, Friends of the Library, Champions for Children, The Birthing Foundation, Family Outreach, Inc., Anderson County Chapter of the American Red Cross, CrimeStoppers, Anderson County Concerned Citizens, Inc. and the Anderson County Appraisal Board.
Plans for a service honoring the life of Vickey Chivers are expected to be announced soon. McCoy Funeral Home is in charge of funeral arrangements.
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