"She was a woman of the moment and we're all gonna miss her," Councilman Bob Ford said.
Words such as shock, sorrow and surreal were used to describe how the Port Orange City Council was affected by Finance Director Tracey Riehm's unexpected death on Nov. 16. She died from complications following a knee surgery.
The council was solemn as Mayor Don Burnette read her obituary.
"All of us here had a real dagger stuck in our hearts a few weeks ago with the news of the passing of our finance director, Tracy Riehm," Burnette said. "She wasn't just a stellar city employee; she was a stellar person. We can talk about her work and how good it was, but that was small in comparison to the person she was."
Council members expressed respect and compassion for the professionalism of the entire finance department who continued to work after learning about Riehm's death.
"They're gonna miss their leader, and they're gonna miss their friend," Burnette said.
Council also thanked the public who came to City Hall to do business that Monday, Dec. 3, as people were patient, understanding and compassionate. Port Orange City Manager Jake Johansson was thanked for arranging respite and help for employees who needed time to process their sorrow.
Each councilman reflected on his memory of Riehm. Her loyalty and commitment to, not only the city, but community as a whole was a major focus.
Councilman Scott Stiltner spoke of her patience and deep commitment to the city and community, as well as her ability to patiently explain finances in understandable terms. Stiltner said there should never be questions about what it meant to her to serve the city. He shared his gratitude to the staff for carrying on despite being in deep emotional pain.
Councilman Drew Bastian agreed with Stiltner and also noted her ability to simplify finances to layman's terms. Councilman Chase Tramont spoke about how she could make numbers come alive for him. He had the pleasure to teach her son, Christopher, and knew that Riehm was passionate about her work, her family and had a deep and abiding faith in God.
Councilman Bob Ford said she was a good friend and neighbor.
"When Port Orange needed help, she was there," Ford said. "And a lot of what we are right now is due to her. She was a woman of the moment and we're all gonna miss her."
A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15 at the Christ Church of Port Orange, located at 2421 Tomoka Farms Road.
The family suggests sending memorial contributions to the Pregnancy Crisis Center, at 416 N. Ridgewood Ave., in Daytona Beach or via https://www.pccdaytona.org/support/
This story was updated at 7:40 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11, to correct the spelling of Tracey Riehm's name.