Phyllis Staley
With her staff gathered in the background, Texas County circuit clerk and recorder of deeds Phyllis Staley clutches a plaque honoring her 53 years of service after being presented the award by Circuit Judge Mary Sheffield in 2010. The unexpected presentation occurred as Staley was beginning the orientation of a group of potential jurors. The moment brought her to tears. Sheffield is an appeals judge now. Credit: HOUSTON HERALD ARCHIVES

Phyllis Staley, who served two generations as a Texas County public servant, has passed away.

Staley left office at the end of 2010. A lifelong Houston resident, she passed away Sunday.

As a 17-year-old Houston High School graduate in the spring of 1957, Staley stepped right out of the classroom and into the courthouse building as an assistant in the circuit clerk’s office. At the end of 2010 she left the courthouse after 53 years of service.

“When I started, I never intended to be here this long,” Staley said in a retirement interview. “But it has been very interesting the whole way through, and there has never been a dull moment.”

Staley was a circuit clerk deputy for a total of 39 years, working under Roy Gentry for 21 years and Wilmer Diedrich for another 18. Having completed almost four decades worth of experience, she then ran for office herself and spent 14 years as Texas County circuit clerk and ex-officio recorder of deeds. The offices have since been separated.

Graveside services are 11 a.m. Thursday, July 29, 2021, at Pine Lawn Cemetery with Don Crockett officiating under the direction of Evans Funeral Home, Houston.