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Miami, Okla. mayor passes - KOAM TV 7

Miami, Okla. mayor passes; Special meeting called for Thursday evening

UPDATE AUGUST 28, 2013 at 4:23 PM - FAMILY AND CO-WORKERS REACT TO MAYOR'S DEATH:

"The first thoughts that were going through my head were prayer, get back to my mom and hopefully be able to see my father."

Tim Ketcher reflects on his reaction upon hearing his father, Miami's Mayor Kent Ketcher, had fallen ill over the weekend. Ketcher says his dad felt nauseous and fell at home Saturday night, and had to be rushed to Freeman Hospital in Joplin, where it was discovered the mayor's brain was bleeding.

Ketcher was elected mayor in 2011. He passed away at 6:15 Tuesday morning.

"He grew up being told, well, you're no better than anybody, but you're no worse, so sort of very salt to the earth virtues, help your fellow man, and I think that's how he tried to live his life, I know there were people who seemed to love him or seemed to hate him, and that didn't bother him, if he thought that what he was doing was the right thing," Tim Ketcher said. 

And those who knew Ketcher on a personal, and professional level, would say similar things.

"Anyone who knew him well knew he was a scrapper, many times he would let me know let me know exactly how he felt about something, and then he would open his mind and listen to facts and different arguments," said Jeff Bishop, Miami's City Manager.   

The city says for now Councilman Rudy Schultz will act as Mayor of Miami, until an election can be held to find a replacement. Under Miami's charter, an election must take place, and the replacement cannot be appointed. Schultz has already scheduled a special meeting for this Thursday at 6:15 PM to discuss such an election. 

"He was a very colorful figure, very strong personality," Bishop said. 

Bishop says for now the City is focused on passing its condolences to the Ketcher family and remembering a man who cared about Miami, cared about his family, and cared about his dogs. Kent Ketcher was 76 years old. He leaves behind his wife of 53 years, Yvonne, two children; Tim and Kenda Hardcastle, and one granddaughter.

The City Council workshop previously scheduled for tonight has now been canceled. 

About Kent Ketcher and his service arrangements:

Kent Ketcher was born and raised in Miami, Oklahoma during the great depression, he was one of six children and the son of a lead miner, according to his son Tim Ketcher.

"Like a lot of people around here would say, I think he would say he grew up poor," Ketcher said. "But my father learned from his mother the importance of keeping your word." 

Ketcher says his father grew up in Miami, attended Miami High School, where he graduated in 1955. From there Ketcher served in the U.S. Navy and attended both Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, Pittsburg State University, and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He lived in St Louis, where he served as a Pre-Trial Release Commissioner until he retired in the mid 1990s. 

Ketcher joined the Miami City Council in 2002, where he filled an empty unexpired term seat from the 1st Ward, he was then elected to the seat in 2004. He was defeated for a re-election bid by current Ward 1 Councilman Rudy Schultz in 2007.

He was elected mayor in April of 2011, where he beat former Mayor Brent Brassfield.

Services: According to the Brown-Winters Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Miami, a visitation will take place from 6 until 8 PM on Thursday August 29th at Ketcher's church: Immanuel Baptist Church. Services will take place at 2pm on Friday, August 30th. The burial will take place following the service at the Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery in Miami. 

UPDATED AUGUST 27, 2013 at 11:05 AM - STATEMENT FROM THE CITY OF MIAMI, OKLAHOMA:

The City of Miami regretfully announces the passing of Mayor G. Kent Ketcher.  City Clerk Jeffrey Bishop declared a vacancy in the office of the Mayor for the City of Miami this morning.  Acting Mayor Rudy Schultz has called for a special meeting of the Miami City Council for Thursday August 29, 2013 at 6:15 PM to be held at the Miami Civic Center to consider a resolution calling for an election to fill the office of Mayor and other related business.  Tonight's regularly scheduled workshop meeting has been canceled.  The City Council and the staff of the City of Miami extend their deepest condolences to the Ketcher family. 

 

UPDATED AUGUST 27, 2013 at 10:00 AM:  Miami Mayor Kent Ketcher passed away a little after 6:20am this morning.

Ketcher's wife, Yvonne, shared the news with KOAM reporter Liz Holliday over the phone this morning.  Liz will be heading to Miami to bring you more on Mayor Ketcher's life and legacy in Miami.

The family will be making arrangements for the funeral this afternoon.

 

UPDATED AUGUST 26, 2013 at 11:45 AM:  An area hospital confirms that Miami Mayor Kent Ketcher is in critical condition.

 

POSTED AUGUST 26, 2013 at 10:33 AM:  NEWS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE CITY OF MIAMI, OKLAHOMA:

Subject: Mayor Ketcher

Due to unforeseen circumstances Mayor Pro Tempore Rudy Schultz will be acting Mayor until further notice. This action is necessary due to disability. The City Council and the staff of the City of Miami extend our most heartfelt thoughts and prayers to the Ketcher family and request that the public provide the utmost respect for the family's privacy at this time. The City of Miami will keep you apprised if more public information becomes available.

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