Lebby C. Jones, a two-term Essex County freeholder, passed away today after an illness.
Word of her death came as the Essex County Board of Freeholders was holding their annual reorganization meeting tonight.
Jones was elected freeholder in 2014 and re-elected in 2017. She served as an Irvington councilwoman from 1994 to 2014, and as a member of the Irvington Board of Education. Jones spent 33 years as a teacher and guidance counselor and was a shop steward for the Newark Teachers Union.
Essex County Democrats will need to hold a special election convention within the next 35 days to select a replacement for Jones’ at-large freeholder seat. There will be a special election in November 2019 for the remaining fourteen months of Jones term.
“I am saddened by the passing of Lebby Jones. As a Freeholder, Councilwoman and educator, she had a lifelong legacy of public service and was truly dedicated to improving the quality of life for her constituents,” said Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo. “With the late Bilal Beasley, Lebby helped lay the groundwork for the current revival in Irvington and served as a mentor for our next generation of leaders. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.”
“Whether she was sacrificing for freedom during the Civil Rights Movement, or championing the rights of the people through her governance, she was a fighter and the essence of her spirit will live in our hearts forever,” said Freeholder President Brendan Gill. “We send our deepest condolences to her family.”
This story was updated at 9:13 PM with comment from DiVincenzo and at 12:38 AM on January 10 with comment from Gill.