|Birth: ||Jul. 25, 1941|
|Death: ||Nov. 25, 2004|
Detroit City Councilwoman Kay Everett, the feisty, always colorful Detroit politician known for her love of hats and famous spats at the council table, died Thursday from complications related to kidney disease. She was 63.
Everett died about 4 p.m. at Sinai-Grace Hospital in Detroit, where she had been rushed in an ambulance early Thursday, said Sam Riddle, a political consultant who has been working as Everett's spokesman.
"Detroit will miss her," Riddle said. "Her courage in continuing to serve and fight like she did for the city of Detroit was incredible. Very few people understood the courage she possessed."
Everett was indicted last month by the federal government on 27 counts of extortion and bribery, for allegedly demanding money and perks from a city contractor in exchange for her votes.
Riddle said Everett was innocent and had planned to fight the charges vigorously.
She also made national headlines for opposing a proposed City Council plan to create a black business district known as African Town that would have earmarked millions of dollars exclusively for black entrepreneurs.
Everett was diagnosed with kidney disease more than five years ago and since then has been undergoing dialysis three days a week. She made her illness public earlier this year.
In the last week, she had undergone three procedures related to her dialysis -- most recently on Tuesday -- because of problems with the shunt used in the procedure.
She collapsed late Wednesday and was rushed to the hospital.Taffey Everett said her mother never regained consciousness.
She said she last spoke to her mother Wednesday when she took her to Royal Oak for another round of dialysis.
"She was tired and weak," Everett said.
Kay Everett's colleagues on the council mourned her passing Thursday. Councilwoman Sheila Cockrel, a close ally, called her a valiant fighter for the causes she believed in.
"She spoke with passion at the table," said Cockrel, who choked up as she spoke about Everett. "And of course, her hats brought a distinctive elegance to council proceedings.
"She was a colleague and a friend, and I will miss her," Cockrel said.
Howard Hughey, Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's press secretary, said the mayor visited the hospital late Thursday afternoon to express his condolences to Everett's family.
"Kay was a passionate public servant, and she was very outspoken on things that she truly believed in," Hughey said. "By and large, most Detroiters will remember her for that. She was dedicated and committed to the city."
Everett, a former public school teacher, was first elected into public office in 1986. She served until 1991, when she ran for Detroit City Council, beating then state-Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, now a U.S. congresswoman, in a special election.
Her style on the council became legendary. She frequently clashed with her colleagues, particularly Councilwoman Sharon McPhail.
Everett: "Just sit there or move down one seat because I ain't ready for this today, OK."
McPhail: "Whatever. Whatever. Just let's go."
Everett: "… Just be quiet."
McPhail: "No, I will not be quiet. I wasn't put here by the people to be quiet."
Everett: "Sharon, you got to chill it. You got your doggoned vote. Chill. … I'll cut the doggoned cameras off and we can go for it baby, but I'm gonna chair this meeting. This is crazy."
McPhail: "I am not your baby."
Everett: "I mean it, I'll cut the doggone cameras off and we will go for it right here ... If you keep talking to me, you're going to see me from the east side of Detroit."
On Thursday, McPhail acknowledged the two did not always see eye-to-eye, but she said, "It's a shock. It's gut-wrenching. I feel bad for her family and her staff members and everyone who knew and cared for her."
The nine-member council is on recess until January. But it will now have to decide how it will deal with the vacant seat left by Everett's death.
Ken Cockrel Jr., council president pro tem, said the council will meet for a special session Monday. He said officials are likely to address Everett's death, but said he doubts a decision will be made on whether to hold a special election. The council, he said, will need to consult with its attorneys and may not decide until January. Council terms expire next year.
"One thing I can say about Kay is she never had a problem letting other City Council members and the world know how she felt about a particular issue," Cockrel said.
Everett's political success was sometimes accompanied by family woes. In 2002, her son, Bradford Everett, 31, died in a house fire he set in exchange for at least $50 from the grandson of the homeowners.
She is survived by a daughter; Taffeda Kay Everett, son; Walter L. Everett Jr., and former husband Walter Everett Sr.
Cremated, Location of ashes is unknown.
Created by: Dwight L. Cannon Jr.
Record added: Dec 02, 2004
Find A Grave Memorial# 10028955
I was thinking about you today Kay. Hard to believe it is almost ten years. You were patient and kind and oh, how you made me laugh.|
Added: Nov. 17, 2014
Grace, Peace and Love, Karen
Added: Aug. 24, 2005
In memory of your life I leave you a new hat since you loved them and were known by them. Thankyou for your many years of service to your community.|
Added: Aug. 24, 2005
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