CONYERS — The city of Conyers is mourning the loss of an icon who stood for excellence in her personal and professional life.
Dolores “Dee” Buggay died Wednesday. Buggay worked for the city for more than 40 years, retiring in 2015 as director of human resources. She made such a profound impact on the culture of the city government that an annual award recognizing the city’s top employee was named in her honor. She was the first recipient of the award.
Mayor Vince Evans said Buggay was a mother figure to employees at the city.
“She was also very direct, a quality I like very much in people,” said Evans. “She was going to give you an honest answer to anything she was asked, so no one ever asked her a question thinking she would tell them what they wanted to hear. She was so highly thought of at the city that our annual employee of the year award, the highest honor one can achieve, is named in her honor. That says it all.”
Tony Lucas worked with Buggay when he was police chief and later when he was appointed city manager.
“Words can’t describe the impact that Ms. Dee had on the city of Conyers and our city family,” Lucas said Friday. “She was the most thoughtful, kind, generous and compassionate person I ever worked with. Yet, she didn’t mind getting on to Old Tony when she thought I was out of line, and it didn’t matter if I was the chief of police or the city manager. On more than one occasion or maybe several, she’d say, ‘Chief, you come in my office, it’s time to talk!’
“She was a voice of reason, comfort and wisdom. But deep down you knew it was out of love and devotion. She loved this city, her city family and this community. There is but one Dee Buggay, and she will be greatly missed by us all.”
Buggay was preceded in death by her parents, Forrest and Marian Hardeman Sr.; husband, Al D. Buggay Jr.; sister, Virginia Clay, and brother, Forrest Hardeman Jr. She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law Sandy and Alan Barber and granddaughter Nastassia Barber; siblings, Barbara and Thomas Thurston, and Tony and Luan Hardeman.
Buggay was born in Winterville and graduated from Winterville High School where she was valedictorian and captain of the cheerleading squad. After high school she went to the University of Georgia where she majored in elementary education. She taught school in Jefferson until she decided to stay home with her daughter. She later worked for Grants department store in Decatur as assistant office manager. In 1974 she moved to Conyers and started working at the city of Conyers. She worked her way up from clerk to human resources director. She was very active in the work done with the Olympics in 1996 and getting the Georgia International Horse Park ready for the events.
Buggay was also active in clubs and civic groups. She was president of the American Business Women’s Association, secretary of the Conyers Kiwanis Club, clerk at Rockdale Baptist Church, treasurer of her Sunday school class, and a member of Eastern Star. She was awarded the Zeller Award, one of the highest given in the Kiwanis organization.
A memorial service for Buggay will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers the family asks for donations to be made to Rockdale Baptist Church or the Rockdale Emergency Relief Community Food Bank.