Former Livingston Parish Registrar of Voters Wynona Lea Graves died Monday afternoon at her home in Watson.
Graves, 82, was the wife of a former Livingston Parish sheriff and mother of the current sheriff.
She began working in the Registrar of Voters Office in 1967 and was named parish registrar after the retirement of Ella Sibley from that job the next year.
She held that post until her retirement in October 1997, when incumbent Registrar Delmas Taylor took over the office.
Taylor said Graves made his transition easy, even though she had backed someone else for the job.
He said she asked him to “take care of my girls” who worked in the office.
Jo Ann Courtney, who was one of those women and serves as Taylor’s confidential assistant, said Graves was a “wonderful, sweet person to work for.
Graves also did a lot to get people to register to vote, including going to schools and business parking lots to sign up voters, Courtney said.
“She cared about the job, but she also cared about her employees” and their families, Courtney said. “She was very family oriented.”
Sheriff Willie Graves said his mother was an unselfish person who hardly left the bedsides of her children when they separately went through serious injuries and illnesses.
“She sacrificed for us and was there for us in every way a mother could be,” Willie Graves said.
He described her as “a great cook who never measured anything,” but would just use “a speck of this and a speck of that.”
A strong woman, she was active up to the last week of her life, he said.
“She was the force behind my daddy, and he knew it,” the sheriff said.
Wynona Graves was the wife of former Livingston Parish Sheriff Odom Graves, who died last year.
In addition to Willie Graves, she is survived by two daughters — Frances LaFleur and Marilyn Jarreau — five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be Wednesday at Live Oak Methodist Church in Watson from 9 a.m. until religious services at noon.