Councillors fell silent to remember a former colleague after her death was announced.
Ann Smee served Arun District Council for eight years and raised £10,000 for charity during her stint as chairman between 2012 and 2013.
News of her death was delivered to full council by chairman Stephen Haymes on Wednesday.
Paying tribute, he said: “Ann was quietly spoken, yet determined and above all every inch a lady.
“I remember her first official engagement as chairman, a street party to celebrate the Queen’s jubilee. It was on my estate with my neighbours – she and (husband) Bill fitted in straight away and she was at ease with everyone.
“This was a precursor to a successful year as chairman of Arun. Ann retired from political life in May 2015. Sadly it was not a long retirement.”
Mrs Smee was elected as a Bersted councillor in 2007, winning the seat for the Conservative Party from the Liberal Democrats.
During her year as chairman, she raised funds for Combat Stress and the National Osteoporosis Society.
Her late husband, Bill, a Bersted parish councillor who served as her consort during her chairmanship, died at their Devon home in April.
Mr Haymes said the loss of the couple would be ‘felt by many’.
A death notice posted online by funeral directors in Bideford, Devon, said Mrs Smee died on October 22, aged 74, following a period of illness.
Her funeral was held in Barnstaple on Friday.
A Just Giving page, inviting donations to North Devon Hospice, can be accessed by visiting www.funeralzone.co.uk/obituaries/23127
Pay your tributes to Mrs Smee by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to Cannon House, Chatsworth Road, Worthing, BN111NA.