Members of the Orange County Board of Supervisors said Tuesday they were still in shock over the sudden death of Auditor-Controller Eric Woolery.
“He was a good friend, a longtime resident of my district and a dedicated public servant for Orange County,” Supervisor Don Wagner said. “I admired his fiscally responsible approach to governance.”
While adjourning Tuesday’s board meeting in Woolery’s honor, Wagner said, “I will miss sitting with Eric, (his wife) Lisa, and friends after a long week to unwind.”
Woolery “was always good for an ironic comment and sharp analysis” during social gatherings, Wagner said.
“He will never be forgotten by me and my family,” Wagner said.
Supervisor Michelle Steel said she was “shocked” when she heard the news. She was prepared to read a statement, but her emotions prevented her from continuing.
“I know this was a shock to all of us,” Orange County Board Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett said. “We all have fond memories of knowing Eric and working on so many important matters here in the county, and many of us knew Eric as a friend.”
“It’s been difficult for all of us,” she said.
Woolery, 53, died Aug. 7. His family and friends will gather Wednesday at Calvary Church in Santa Ana to remember him.
Woolery was first elected to the post in June 2014 and began his term in January 2015. He was re-elected in June 2018.
Last week, Woolery’s wife, Lisa, said, “Since I was 14 years old, Eric has been my love. He was the very best man, brave, tenacious, a righter of wrongs. He lives on in our children, Liam and Kate, and leaves behind the glue that will bind our family. Please pray for us until we will see him again in heaven.”
Woolery served as the deputy director of administration for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office for seven years before being elected in Orange County. He also served on the Orange County Board of Education and treasurer for the city of Orange.
Woolery graduated from Lutheran High School in Orange and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Cal State Fullerton. After his graduation, he worked at the accounting firm Ernst & Young, where he earned his certified public accountant license.
Woolery lived in Orange with his wife. On his website, he called her his “high school sweetheart and wife of 22 years.”
Deputy Salvador Lopez will serve as interim auditor-controller.