Hawthorne mourns ‘kind hearted' former commissioner


Published: Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 6:17 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 6:17 p.m.

Eleanor “Kit” Randall passed away on Wednesday at age 61, but her legacy of contributions as a longtime Hawthorne city commissioner remains.

Randall joined the Hawthorne City Commission in 2004 and later went on to serve as mayor from 2009 to 2011. She remained on the board as a commissioner after her stint as mayor ended.

City Manager Ellen Vause said Randall was a kind, warm-hearted woman who always strived to do what was best for the city, even in the midst of former financial troubles.

Randall’s family could not be reached on Thursday, so The Sun could not confirm the cause of her death.

Vause said that when she took over as interim city manager in 2011, Randall was always willing to spend time answering her questions and helped her acclimate to her new role.

Randall never missed commission meetings and was always an active participant, whether she was running the proceedings herself or simply observing the presentations and offering her personal input, Vause said.

Randall was a second-generation commissioner, with her father having served before her. Hawthorne was her home, and she cared deeply about it, Vause said. Randall was involved with the community in and out of City Hall, Vause added.

“She’s just been an inspiration to all of us, and I know that her family is feeling the loss,” she said. “The city will feel the loss along with the commission.”

Mayor Matt Surrency said Randall exemplified the old adage of “speak softly and carry a big stick.” When she spoke up, she was heard.

“She was a very humble person, a very quiet person. If you just came up and met her, you’d just think she was the nicest person in the world to meet and just a great person,” Surrency said. “But when she spoke, people listened.”

She came in and did her job and helped the community as best she could regardless of whether anyone took notice, Surrency said. She was a special person to the community as both a committed public servant and a passionate member of her church, he added.

Her loss is deeply felt within the city’s government and among her fellow commissioners and other colleagues, Surrency said.

They’re taking the time to reflect on her life and her legacy, Surrency said, adding that they’re taking the time to mourn.

“We’re going to miss her,” Vause said.

She had a big impact on the people who work for the city and the people who live in it, Vause continued.

“Everybody that called today — the first words out of their mouths were: ‘She was a wonderful, nice lady.’ ” said Vause.

Contact Morgan Watkins at 338-3104 or morgan.watkins@gainesville.com.

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