ANDERSON COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – A long-time Clerk of Court and former Anderson Mayor passed away Thursday morning.

According to the Anderson County Coroner’s Office, emergency personnel responded to a 911 call at 11:19 p.m. to Richard Shirley’s house where he was found in cardiac arrest.

EMS personnel initiated reuse effects on Shirley and he was taken to the hospital where he died Thursday morning.

Shirley’s biography on Anderson County’s website said he “devoted his entire career to serving the people of Anderson County.

Shirley was appointed to Clerk of Court in 2010. He then won re-election in 2012, 2016, and 2020. The county’s website also states, Shirley was a city councilman from July 1, 1978, to June 30, 1998.

“He was quite a gentleman and led a very impactful life in Anderson County– from beginning his services as the youngest council person for the City of Anderson at 23,” Rusty Burns, Anderson County administrator.

“He was on the city council for 20 years, then he was mayor for several terms and then he became clerk of court, and he was a fantastic clerk of court, and he was very smart. He was very dedicated,” Burns said.

“His employees today are devastated because they were very close to him, and they really feel that” Burns said. “There’s a gloom over this courthouse because of his passing, because he was smart, but he was also very very funny, and he actually knew, I believe he actually knew, everybody in Anderson County, and their mothers, and their fathers, and their cousins and everything else.”

“So, he will leave a legacy that will last for a very very long time,” Burns said.

Prior to that, Shirley served as mayor from July 1, 1998, to June 30, 2006.

“The mayor was always very gracious with his time, with volunteering,” said Mayor Terence Roberts. “I respect the fact that he always thought enough of his community to give back for that long.”

“Richard was a very popular figure in our community. He’s a very popular mayor. He did a lot of things. He led a council, and he did a lot of great things for the city that will in a sense–be a legacy,” Roberts said.

“If we have more people like Richard Shirley–a younger generation of Richard Shirleys, that will be a good thing for our community.” Roberts said.

“He was a friend, and I was proud to call him a friend, but everybody I think in Anderson County was proud to call him a friend,” Burns said. “He was that kind of person, and he was a very loving husband from conversations I’ve had with him and a very loving father.”

“He was just a great person. I mean, I don’t have anything that I can say negative about Richard Shirley, except he left too soon,” Burns said.

“He was bright, smart, witty. He loved Anderson with all his heart and soul, and he was probably one of the best ambassadors we could have ever had for this area, and there are a lot of things that he did and implemented that will continue long after all of us are gone,” Burns said. “He never did it for the glory. He did it for the right reasons. He had a heart for service.”

“If everybody could live a life like the way and the fashion and manner that he did, that’s a legacy–that’s an honor,” Burns said. “He was a man of character, and you can take that, and you can hold on to that forever.”

Jeff Duncan tweeted his condolences after learning of Shirley’s passing:

Praying for the family of my friend, Richard Shirley, longtime Anderson County Clerk of Court and former Mayor of Anderson. Richard devoted his life to the people of Anderson County, and he will be greatly missed. We are keeping his loved ones in our prayers in the days ahead.

Rep. Jeff Duncan