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OREM — Mayor Jerry Washburn died Monday night following a long battle with cancer.
City officials say Washburn died at his home about 6:30 p.m., surrounded by his wife, Betty, and other family members.
"He loved Orem," said City Councilman Carl Hernandez. "He was very dedicated to serving the community. I would say he's one of the greatest statesman I've ever worked with."
Hernandez was appointed as mayor pro tem in June and had been fulfilling the duties of mayor when Washburn's was unable to do so.
"We have lost a great man and a great leader in Mayor Washburn," he said.
Others who worked with Washburn say it would be difficult to find a better example of a public servant. Orem Councilman Mark Seastrand told the Daily Herald Washburn knew how to strike the "perfect balance of family, religion, work, and service to others."
He was very dedicated to serving the community. I would say he's one of the greatest statesman I've ever worked with.
–Carl Hernandez, city councilman
Washburn was a resident of Orem for 50 years. He graduated from Orem High School and BYU, and later owned a car dealership. He was a regional board member for Zions Bank and the director of Universal Campus Credit Union.
Prior to his service as mayor, Washburn served as a mission president for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in San Diego, Calif., from 1993-1996. He also served in the presidency of the Missionary Training Center in Provo in 1999.
He organized the Neighborhoods in Action program for Orem and was the founding director and chairman of the Commission for Economic Development. He also worked on several commissions, government associations and councils, including the Utah Lake Commission and Utah League of Cities and Towns.
As mayor, Washburn is remembered for his leadership in community development, strengthening neighborhood organizations, building parks such as Nielsen's Grove and Mount Timpanogos Park. He also implemented city-wide street lighting and established the Veterans Memorial at the Orem cemetery.
Washburn's son, Michael, told the Daily Herald that he's always been proud of his father and all that he's accomplished, and that "the people of Orem can be proud to have had him as mayor, too. He has been genuine and honest."
Funeral arrangements for Washburn have not yet been announced.