Former assistant city attorney Jaimie DeLoach died Sunday after an extended illness. She was 55.
DeLoach worked for the city attorney’s office for about 10 years before leaving in 2011 to take a job as counsel for Columbus State University.
CSU Provost and Vice President Tom Hackett was one of two executives to which DeLoach reported.
“She was just a terrific lawyer, but more to the point, just a terrific person, a great lady,” Hackett said. “Everyone who worked with her said the same thing, ‘Jaimie’s such a great colleague, but I see her as a personal friend.’ ”
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Hackett said DeLoach had branched out into the classroom in the business school, in addition to her attorney duties. And she will be tough to replace in both capacities.
“I think she was really enjoying (teaching), too. It seemed to be exciting to her,” Hackett said. “There’s no replacing a Jaimie. You grieve and you move on and you try to do the best you can for the university. She’s someone we will all really miss.”
City Attorney Clifton Fay, who had been DeLoach’s boss during her tenure at the city, said she was “an invaluable member of our legal team.”
“She was a brilliant researcher and a very smart lawyer,” Fay said. “Of course, we’re thinking about her husband Jon and two children, and sending them all our prayers and support.”
Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, who practiced law before going into politics, said she knew DeLoach personally and professionally.
“I practiced law when she was also a new lawyer and worked with her when she was a lawyer with the city and I was with Midtown, Inc.,” Tomlinson said. “I would say she was an exceptionally bright woman, a very fair woman and a great, great mother. She certainly will be missed by the people of Columbus. We’re all very saddened by that loss.”
DeLoach had been an avid tennis player and active in the Columbus Regional Tennis Association, according to CORTA executive director Judy Pearce.
“She was a co-chair of one of our committees recently and helped a lot with our adult recreation program,” Pearce said. “She played quite a bit until recently and was a great member. She was a very active player.”
Columbus resident Bobbi Starr, a close friend of DeLoach’s, said they met through tennis and their friendship bloomed quickly.
“You know when you hear someone say, they were the kindest person or they were the smartest person, you might think they are platitudes. But Jaimie truly was the smartest and kindest person,” Starr said. “She was brilliant, really, really smart. But people might not have known how smart she was because she was quiet and humble.”
Starr said the DeLoaches would include her and her sons on their family vacations to Folly Beach, S.C., her favorite get-away.
“She was a fearless body surfer, fearless in the water,” Starr said. “She made me brave. Her example made me brave, and I’m sure she had that effect on other people.”
Originally from Atlanta, DeLoach was a graduate of the University of Georgia Law School, as is her husband, Jon.
DeLoach is survived by her husband of 25 years, son Briggs and daughter Nathalie. A celebration of life service will be held in December. Details will be announced.