GROVETON, Texas (KTRE) - Groveton’s mayor, Byron Richards, has died. He was 79.
Richards entered office in August of 2010.
Groveton Mayor Pro Tempore Ralph Bennett says Mayor Richards died Monday night. He says it was due to complications of COVID-19.
“Our community is hurt, and we are in shock,” Bennett said.
Bennett says on New Year’s Eve, Mayor Richards and his wife felt ill, went to a hospital and tested positive for COVID-19. The mayor died four days later.
“He called me Monday afternoon, and he told me that he felt he would not make it,” Bennett said.
Bennett says in that phone call, Richards thanked the workers of city, the council and the mayor pro-tem.
“He cared a great deal about the city,” Bennett said. “He placed the city and its projects above himself.”
“He will be dearly missed,” Trinity County Judge Doug Page said.
Page says he has known Richards for decades.
“He was a good man that I loved to call a friend,” Page said. “A God-fearing man. A family man and had a dear concern for the City of Groveton and did an outstanding job for them.”
Bennett says he will assume the role of Mayor of Groveton and help finish the projects Richards started like the $900,000 project to rejuvenate the downtown square of Groveton with ADA compliance and securing funding to dig another water well.
“You can’t replace someone like that,” Bennett said. “We’re a strong city. We will carry on. All of our council has a great knowledge and understanding of what we need to do.”
Celebration of life services will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 16, at Pennington Baptist Church in Pennington.