Rushia Stephens passed away after a brief illness.

Photo of Rushia Stephens provided by family.

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. (CBS46) -- People who knew and loved Mrs. Rushia Stephens say she was a kind and loving mother, grandmother and musician.

She passed away last week after a brief illness.

Stephens who was a former DeKalb County music teacher, had been working in the DeKalb County Superior Court Clerk’s office as a court records technician, filing court calendar records.

She was the wife of a retired Dekalb County Magistrate, Judge Corneill Stephens.

People who knew Mrs. Stephens tell CBS46 that she went home sick within the last couple weeks. A family friend told CBS46 that Stephens went to see a doctor more than once. She was sent home from the hospital late last week after being told she was okay. She died shortly after.

On March 24th, Stephens’ family and friends learned from the coroner that her death was due to the coronavirus. 

Her family urges the public to take the rapidly spreading virus serious.

CBS46 reached out to DeKalb County's Superior Court Clerk Debra DeBerry, who was Mrs. Stephens manager and friend. DeBerry had not shared Stephens’ name publicly out of respect for her family, but agreed to share memories with CBS46.

“Mrs. Stephens was well-loved and adored by me as well as our entire staff,” DeBerry said on the phone with CBS46’s Hayley Mason. “She was just a dynamic person and woman, and we miss her and we are grieving over the loss of her,” DeBerry continued.

CBS46 was notified that the Dekalb Superior Court Clerk's office would be cleaned and closing for a month as the staff learned that an employee was experiencing coronavirus symptoms.

“Back on March 12th, the [DeKalb County] CEO sent out an email putting the county in an emergency situation and so my thoughts was the safety and welfare of my staff as well as the public,” DeBerry said. “I hired a specialized cleaning company to come in and sanitize our office twice daily. This was prior to knowing that anyone was sick or symptomatic,” she explained.

DeBerry said her office is not aware of Mrs. Stephens illness and did not want to speak without knowledge.

Mrs. Stephens’ brother told CBS46 that his sister was “an outstanding music educator, who loved children and helping others.”

Stephens was a  member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, who attended Morris Brown College before graduating Ithaca College in New York. She was a cherished wife, mother, and grandmother.

The DeKalb County Superior Court Clerks’ office will be closed until April 13th, most services are being offered online.

Copyright 2020 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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