Emma Darnell, a longtime Fulton County commissioner, died May 5, the county announced.
Darnell served for 27 years representing District 6, which covers several cities in south Fulton County, including southwest Atlanta, and unincorporated areas. She frequently advocated for seniors, the county’s release said.
Prior to holding that seat, Darnell served in the Atlanta District Office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, according to her official biography.
She also held positions in the city of Atlanta during the administrations of Mayor Sam Massell, now the president of the Buckhead Coalition, and Mayor Maynard Jackson in the 1970s. During that time, Darnell was the architect for the city of Atlanta’s “Minority Participation Plan” for the expansion of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and became the first female to head a department, the biography said.
Board of Commissioners Chairman Robb Pitts said on Twitter that he “never worked with a more dedicated public servant than Commissioner Darnell. She was a dear friend and longtime colleague.”
She began her eighth term on the commission in 2017, which was set to expire in 2020. A special election to fill her seat has not yet been set.
Funeral arrangements will be announced when finalized, the county said.