Washington human resources director Eva Santos died early Tuesday at age 56 after her latest battle with breast cancer. The death was confirmed by Gov. Chris Gregoire’s office.
Gregoire herself is a breast cancer survivor, and her office released a statement quoting the governor as saying Santos was a “great leader” and “cherished friend.”
“Eva was one-of-a-kind and was one of the finest people with whom I’ve ever had the chance to work. She was a rare blend of fun and seriousness, able to bring clarity and levity to any situation at the same time. . Everyone who worked with her knew her integrity, her skill and her passion for service,” Gregoire said.
Santos was director of the former state Department of Personnel until it was broken up as part of a five-agency consolidation into three agencies Oct. 1, 2011. She retained her role as human resources director in charge of larger policy issues inside the Office of Financial Management.
She said at the time of the agency shuffle in the fall of 2011 that her health was fine. But Gregoire spokesman Cory Curtis said that changed this year, and Santos underwent new treatments over the summer months.
Gregoire has been issuing proclamations to state agency leaders, thanking them personally for their years of public service. She visited Santos last week to deliver the proclamation, Curtis email@example.com