The Birmingham City Council held a press conference on council president Maxine Parker's death. Source: Anthony Moore/WBRC
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -
Two sources within Birmingham City Hall have confirmed Councilwoman Maxine Parker passed away Tuesday afternoon.
Parker was hospitalized at Princeton Hospital suddenly with her health listed as critical. There are no other details available on the cause of her health issues.
Birmingham Mayor William Bell issued the following statement on her death Tuesday afternoon:
"Councilor Maxine Herring Parker will be remembered as a strong advocate for her district. She worked tirelessly and faithfully for the people of District 4. I was with her family at the time of her passing and I want them to know that the City of Birmingham is with them as they grieve the loss of such an outstanding mother, Councilor and friend. This is a sad day for our City," Bell said.
Parker's sudden hospitalization came as a shock to almost everyone in city hall because she presided over council meeting last Tuesday in seemingly good health. She was just elected council president and sworn in less than a month ago.
Parker was beginning her third term representing District 4 on the council. She was first elected to the council in 2005. She was well-liked in her district where she has worked hard to secure funding for an EPA investigation of pollution in the Collegeville neighborhood and for a new bridge over the railroad into Collegeville to allow neighbors and first responders to avoid having to wait for trains stopped at a crossing.
The council cut out all but its consent agenda on Tuesday and expressed concern for Parker's health. Council President Pro Tem Jay Roberson presided over the meeting. Mayor William Bell skipped the meeting to be with her family at the hospital.
Mayor Bell's office says the flags on all city buildings will be lowered to half mast in Parker's honor.
The council will have to hold new elections for council president and pro-tem as well as appoint councilor for District 4.
Councilor Sheila Tyson released this statement on Parker's passing:
"We are filled with sadness and grief over the loss of Councilor Maxine Parker. I've known Mrs. Parker for over 20 years, and she always personified class, grace, and a quiet strength. She didn't have to speak loudly, because her actions did the talking for her. We all lost a mentor and a friend today. I just ask the members of the Birmingham community to join us in lifting up Councilor Parker's family through prayer during this difficult time."
Rep. Terri Sewell released this statement on Parker's passing:
"I am deeply saddened to hear about the loss of Birmingham's beloved Councilwoman Maxine Parker, who recently became Council President. She will forever be remembered for her public service, strength, kindness and relentless pursuit for environmental justice in North Birmingham. My thoughts and prayers are with her family, colleagues and constituents during this difficult time."