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      Almeta Crayton passes away

      Mayor Bob McDavid said that Crayton was a Columbia icon.

      Update: October 22, 2013, 1:15 p.m.

      Almeta Crayton??s family has set up a fund at Boone County National Bank to help pay some of Crayton??s bills and funeral expenses.You can make your donation at any bank branch location through the Almeta Crayton Donations Fund.Family members expect to announce Crayton??s funeral arrangements on Friday.

      Update: October 21, 2013, 11:06 p.m.

      Former Columbia Councilwoman Almeta Crayton has died.

      Crayton was recently hospitalized in a coma after suffering from heart and kidney problems.

      Crayton is best known for her work with the poor. She experienced firsthand the problems some of her constituents faced - Crayton was a single mom and sometimes had trouble paying her bills. She lived in public housing close to where many of the people she helped lived.

      Phil Steinhaus of the Columbia Housing Authority says Crayton profoundly affected the people around her. "You could always drive by and Almeta would be sitting out on the porch, she would have a barbeque going and anyone that needed something to eat could stop by and have something to eat, or have a chat and let her know what their concerns were in the neighborhood."

      Mid-October is usually the time of year she usually prepares for her annual Everyone Eats program which feeds hundreds of people who normally would not have a Thanksgiving meal. Crayton also operated a neighborhood resource center that provided food, clothing and housing. Columbia Councilwoman Laura Nauser said she was privileged to serve with Crayton.

      Nauser said, ??I was very impressed with how diligent she worked, especially with issues dealing with poverty and the things that impacted the first ward. She worked tirelessly for the people of the first ward and the entire community as a whole.??

      Columbia Councilman Karl Skala also served with Crayton. He remembers when Crayton became Columbia??s first black councilwoman. Skala said Crayton didn??t care about the color of anyone??s skin.

      Skala said, ??I??ll remember her graciousness and her big heart. She always had limited resources, but gave a lot more than what she had.??

      Former Mayor Darwin Hindman said while Crayton served on the council, she helped put a face on the issue of poverty in Columbia. "She was very popular," Hindman said. "I think that she represented her people quite well."

      "She gained respect of people, even her critics. I think over all, people came to admire what she was doing."

      Family members said that funeral arrangements are pending. Council members are expected to hold a moment of silence during their meeting tonight in honor of Crayton.

      Family members gathered at Crayton??s home did not want to comment. Mayor Bob McDavid said that Crayton was a Columbia icon.

      Crayton served as a Columbia city councilwoman from 1999-2008.

      She was 53 years old.

      Original Story:

      Former Columbia councilwoman Almeta Crayton has passed away.

      Boone Hospital Center confirmed the news to KRCG 13.

      Crayton was hospitalized earlier this month after experiencing heart trouble.

      Crayton is best known for her work with the poor. This is the time of year she prepares for her annual Everyone Eats Program which feeds hundreds of people who normally would not have a Thanksgiving meal.

      Crayton also operated a neighborhood resource center that provided food, clothing and housing.

      Crayton served as a Columbia City Councilwoman from 1999-2008.