Hawthorne – The City of Hawthorne lost not only a former mayor and city commissioner, but also one of the most influential members of the community when Eleanor “Kit” Randall passed away last Wednesday.

Randall’s tenure with the city started in 2004 when she was first elected as a Hawthorne city commissioner. She later served as the mayor of Hawthorne from 2009-2011 and she remained on the city commission until the time of her death. Through her work with the commission and involvement in various other groups Randall had a far-reaching impact on her community.

“Commissioner Eleanor ‘Kit’ Randall was a genuinely kind and caring person dedicated to family, church and city,” said Ellen Vause, Hawthorne’s city manager.

Randall was sometimes a quiet leader, but no one questioned that selective silence for weakness. She garnered the utmost respect from those she worked with and demonstrated to her colleagues the poise a leader should possess.

“She was very special in that she always had a positive approach and was committed to improving the quality of life for her community,” said Scott Koons, executive director of the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council. “She was engaged with the community and the council and she was a true pleasure to work with.”

Hawthorne Mayor Matthew Surrency looks back on his time serving with Randall as an honor and an incredible opportunity as he initially learned from her how to lead.

“When I first became a commissioner she was the mayor, and to learn from her directly was remarkable,” Surrency said.

Eleanor Randall was a second-generation commissioner in Hawthorne, following her father, Joe Williams, who sat on the commission from 1984-1997. Randall was deeply rooted in Hawthorne; she also served as the city’s representative to the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council since 2007, where she looked for ways to make a difference for her home community.

“I was privileged enough to work with both ‘Kit’ and her father and it was just a great family,” said John Martin, former Hawthorne mayor and commissioner and a long-time friend. “I was impressed by her confidence, as well as her passion and commitment, but also that she still stayed humble and sought counsel often, which is truly rare.”

Vause said that Randall was also a huge influence on her as the presiding mayor when Vause first took the position as interim city manager.

“She cared deeply about the city and was a great help and mentor while we worked to improve the City of Hawthorne,” Vause said.

As mandated by the city charter, the city is required to fill her seat for the period of time until the next election, which is scheduled for June 2014. However, they are in no hurry to make that decision.

“The discussions will begin soon I’m sure, but there’s no rush,” said Surrnecy. “With the way the council is voting so similarly right now and working together very well we shouldn’t have any trouble.”

Randall’s legacy will surely remain through the impact she had on her community and the city she was so proud to call home.

“She was a joy to work with, and her spirit for community and making people feel genuinely good about being from Hawthorne are what will be missed the most,” Martin said.

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