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Respected community leader and Chiefland City Commissioner Frank Buie died late Monday night after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
The six-year commissioner and Chiefland native, who was on the ballot for Tuesday's election, was hospitalized a couple of weeks ago at the VA/Malcolm Randall Medical Center and then taken to Haven Hospice of the Tri-Counties in Chiefland where he lived out the last days of his life. He was 86.
Buie, a retired WWII veteran and owner of a construction company, was defeated by Alice Monyei for the Group 1 seat in 2005 in his first run for office but emerged victorious against her in the following election in 2007. He held that seat ever since, defeating Monyei again in 2009 and then running unopposed in 2011.
Commissioner Rollin Hudson, who has served with Buie since he was first elected, said Buie will be missed on the commission and in the community.
"He was easy going, and he always had the citizens' best interest at heart and always wanted to hear what the public had to say."
Vice Mayor Teresa Barron agreed. "It's been a pleasure, actually, it's been an honor to serve on the commission with a man who was so committed to making good and fair decisions for the residents and businesses of Chiefland and Levy County."
New City Manager Kevin Gay said, "The community has lost a great leader. In the short time I've been privileged to know him, he did give me quite a few words of wisdom. He was kind and gentle."
Buie's death adds a complication to Tuesday's city elections.
Gay said Tuesday that none of the votes for Buie or his opponent, Chris Jones, who also happens to be Buie's nephew, will be counted.
Commissioners will have to appoint someone to the Group 1 seat Monday, Gay said, and then a special election will take place Oct. 7 to determine a winner. Qualifying started Tuesday and runs through Aug. 22. Voter registration books close Sept. 9.
Jones will automatically qualify for the seat, though it's unclear at this point if he will have any challengers.
Funeral services will be Saturday, Aug. 17. at Lighthouse Word Church.