Hamburg’s mayor for the last decade died Saturday at the age of 74.
Mayor Dane Weindorf had battled cancer for several years, and died Feb. 20 of complications following a surgery.
Before he was mayor, Weindorf was a grocery store owner, starting with one in Crossett in 1972, and eventually expanding with a business partner, Joe Foote. Joe and Dane Enterprises — JADE’s — eventually became seven stores.
Weindorf retired from the grocery store business after 30 years and ran for Hamburg mayor, defeating then-mayor Gordon Hennington at the ballot box. He took office in 2011 and served until the time of his death.
City Clerk Peggy Akers had already been elected to her position when Weindorf took office, and served as the clerk for the entirety of his service.
“It was a pleasure to work with Dane,” Akers said. “We could sit down and discuss things, and most of the time everything was kind of eye-to-eye, but if we disagreed on anything at all, he was always very willing to listen. He would just say, ‘Peggy, keep me on track.’
“He really had a heart for the city.”
As the city’s lead executive, Weindorf oversaw infrastructure upgrades and successfully rallied voters to adopt a half-cent sales tax that funded significant improvements to city parks and built a new fire station.
Most recently, the late mayor had pushed for — and rejoiced publicly when it came through — the installation of high speed Internet in Hamburg.
“The mayor was very dedicated to seeing Hamburg improve and taking care of its citizens,” City Attorney Paul Keith said. “He was innovative without being revolutionary, and was always looking for opportunities to make things better in Hamburg. For me, he was very easy to work with; we had a great relationship.”
Weindorf is survived by his wife Annette, sons Dax and Blake, and daughters Leslie and Angie, as well as eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. While final service announcements have not been announced, the family has said it will include an outdoor memorial service at Hamburg City Park under the direction of Jones-Hartshorn Funeral Home.
At City Hall, Akers is temporarily acting in the role of major based on an opinion Keith offered following Weindorf’s death.
“Right now, in my opinion the City Clerk is the mayor and the council has the authority to appoint an acting mayor who will serve until a new one is elected,” Keith said. “They do that by majority vote. The final resolution is that, because there was more than a year left in the mayor’s term, there will have to be a special election to elect a new mayor to complete that term.”
Keith said that he is researching what needs to be done by what deadline so that the council can schedule an election.
The council’s regularly scheduled meeting for Monday was rescheduled for Thursday at 5 p.m.