UPDATE: Jefferson County has sworn in a new district clerk.
Jane Birge, the longtime assistant to Lolita Ramos, will serve as the district clerk until January 1, 2015. She's agreed not to run for the elected position.
BEAUMONT - by Lauren Huet
It takes hundreds of people to run a courthouse, but people who worked with Lolita Ramos say, they counted on her to make it run well. Hundreds of people attended her funeral today at Saint Anthony Cathedral Basilica. Ramos was 67 years old when she died Sunday after battling cancer. She served as Jefferson County District Clerk since 2007, and was the first woman elected to be County Clerk of Jefferson County in 1987.
Ramos's co-workers said the county has lost a strong leader.
"She was the right hand of every district judge in this county," said 279th District Court Judge Randy Shelton. "She was a great friend, I learned a lot from her. She kind of nurtured me along, brought me along when I took the bench, and it's just a sad day for the county."
As the first woman to serve as Jefferson County Clerk, she helped pave the way for women in local government.
"From an elected position, she was one of the first women that kind of pushed through and succeeded and I have very fond memories of her, and I send my condolences out to her family because we loved her very much and she will be missed." said Mayor Becky Ames.
"[She] left a great legacy for women in this community," said Kathy Tait, a long time friend of Ramos. "She was such a leader and set such a good example for everyone, and she's going to be so missed by all of us."
When the service ended, the funeral procession passed by Jefferson County Courthouse, where staff stood out front to say goodbye.
"Lolita was my boss," said Adra Miller, standing outside the courthouse. "She was the most wonderful lady I have ever met. She could make you laugh and smile at the slightest little thing. She was great."
"She just had that kind of personality, always a smiling person, you never saw her down," said Jefferson County Clerk Carolyn Guidry. "So she was an inspiration to all of us who worked at the courthouse."
Judge Shelton said the loss of Ramos is a big loss to the community.
"It's a sad loss for us personally, and for the county, as far as, we're going to miss her leadership. I mean we probably need her leadership more now than almost any other time I can remember," said Shelton.
"She'll be truly missed. Very much so," said Miller.