In winning her Council seat, she broke a barrier as Cleveland’s first-ever black woman to serve in an elective office.
Cleveland had previously selected a black woman to an appointed office when the late Lucille Scott was named to serve the 2nd District.
Mrs. Westfield served on the Council from 1998 until 2002, losing her seat to former Councilman Rod Davis.
Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland said he and his wife, Sandra, had visited Westfield several times since her health began to fail.
“We’ve lost a good friend and the city has lost a good leader,” the mayor said. “She had a strong passion for her constituents and for young people.”
Members of her community were stunned by her passing.
Lawrence Armstrong, president of the Bradley County Branch of the NAACP, was informed of Westfield’s death at Saturday night’s commemoration program for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Cleveland State Community College.
“I would like to express my condolences to the family,” he said, adding, “she will be truly missed. She was always active for the constituents in her district and we will always respect and miss her.”
Pastor Aubrey Ector, chairman of the Cleveland Utilities board of directors, said, “Mrs. Westfield was a person who led us into the transition (of participating) in local government. Many of us can thank her for that.”
Funeral arrangements are incomplete, but will be announced by Ralph Buckner Funeral Home.
Westfield, a Bradley County native, was educated in city and county school systems and attended Cleveland State Community College.
She began public work more than 26 years go. She was manager of the city’s Mosby Park swimming pool and was a volunteer for American Red Cross swimming classes. She also taught swimming at the Cleveland YMCA.
She worked as a probation officer for the Bradley County Juvenile Court System, and was a deputy for the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office. She was supervisor of SETHRA, Bradley-Cleveland’s rural transport system, served as a member of the Bradley-Cleveland homeless shelter’s board of directors and was employed at one time as a receptionist for former Bradley County Executive Donna Hubbard.
In a Banner interview prior to the turn of the century, she said, “I’m proud to be a part of this community, but there is a lot of work to be done. We’re going into the 21st century in a few months and we need better living quarters for our seniors.”
Showing concern for the future, she said, “The youth of today are our leaders of tomorrow, and we must prepare them by pushing them forward.”