The Roanoke Rapids Public Library will become the Chichester Memorial Library in honor of the late Gilbert Chichester, who served as city attorney from January 2008 to December 2019.
The city council Wednesday unanimously approved the resolution honoring Chichester, who died on February 5, 2022.
“It’s taken a long time for us to get to this point but I’m glad we’ve arrived,” Mayor Emery Doughtie told members of Chichester’s family. “As much as we enjoy having (City Attorney) Geoffrey (Davis) here and I’m sure he would agree, we still miss Mr. Chichester very much. I know you all do. He was a voice of wisdom on this council. Sometimes he didn’t say a whole lot but when he opened his mouth things that came out of it said a lot in a few words. It was a sad day when we lost him. This is a chance for us to memorialize him in the years to come.”
Doughtie read the resolution to the family, its opening paragraph stating the city, the council, staff, and citizens “were greatly saddened to learn of the death of Gilbert Wilson Chichester, who was born in Halifax County on January 5, 1947 and passed away on February 5, 2022.”
A graduate of Aurelian Springs High School, he served in the United States Air Force before earning his undergraduate degree at North Carolina Wesleyan University and furthering his education at the University of Richmond T.C. Williams School of Law, receiving his juris doctor degree.
“ … He served as city attorney from January 2008 until December 2019 providing expert legal services to assist the city in many complex situations with commendable results and thereby gaining the respect and confidence of all the city's officials for his depth of knowledge, sound judgment and high ethical principles.”
As a way to reflect “fondly upon his superior performance as our city attorney” the name of the public library will be the Chichester Memorial Library “so that the contributions he made will not be soon forgotten.”
Chichester’s wife Stacie told the council, “I just want to say thank you for this and the memories. This is going to be a lasting memory of him. He loved being the city attorney and he loved serving the community.”
Chichester’s daughter Terri said, “I would like to say of any building in our community the library could not have been more appropriate.”
City Manager Kelly Traynham presented the family with another resolution which came from the North Carolina League of Municipalities. “He is very missed and I actually had a conversation unexpectedly with an attorney on the phone yesterday and he said, ‘I met one person from Halifax County in my life,’ and he called him the treasure of Halifax County. I couldn’t have been more pleased and we miss him very much. We’re thankful to have his family still in the community and I hope you find the library as a place to remember him and all the research and time he has spent in legal libraries — doing what he did best and that was practicing law. He was committed to everything he did whether it was at work or home.”
Traynham said a naming ceremony will be held.