Former tax assessor dead at 90

Published 12:01am Monday, July 22, 2013

NATCHEZ — A former Adams County tax assessor died Friday at the age of 90.

Edith Van Pelt, affectionately called Eda by family and friends, was born on April 10, 1923, in Wisner La.

After graduating from high school in Wisner, she moved to Natchez in the early 1940s because of ample job opportunities, her son Banks Van Pelt said.

Edith Van Pelt worked for trucking, electrical and carpeting businesses before being hired to work in the tax assessor’s office in 1964. She eventually worked her way up to chief deputy.VanPelt

She ran for tax assessor in 1978 for the first time.

Edith Van Pelt served four terms, or 16 years, before losing to current tax assessor Reynolds Atkins in 1994.

As the tax assessor, Edith Van Pelt put a value on resident’s property. Her value was used to determine how much tax residents paid.

“Anyone could walk up to the counter, and she knew exactly where their property was and how much it was worth,” Banks Van Pelt said. “She wouldn’t even have to pull the numbers.”

During her time in office Edith Van Pelt gained respect from co-workers for her knowledge and fair treatment of Adams County residents, Atkins said.

“I have all the respect in the world for her,” he said. “When I went to work as the tax assessor, she stayed there for two weeks to get me oriented. When we ran against each other, we would hug and I would thank her for running a clean race.”

Miss-Lou residents took note of her warm, loving personality. As a result, she made friends with people from all walks of life, Banks Van Pelt said.

“We could hardly go out without stopping to have a conversation with someone,” he said.

After losing the 1994 county tax assessor election, Edith Van Pelt retired, sort of.

“If anyone in our family needed something, she was going to make sure it got done,” her granddaughter Barbara West said. “If Eda thought you were hungry, she would give you her food. She moved up to Washington state for a short period because it was too far of a distance between us.”

Edith Van Pelt is survived by her son, three grandchildren and a number of other relatives.

Services for Van Pelt will be at 3 p.m. today at Greenlawn Memorial Park Cemetery. Visitation will be from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Laird Funeral Home.