GAINESVILLE - Former Gainesville city councilman and mayor Joe Stargel has died.
Stargel, who was 86, died Monday at Northeast Georgia Medical Center after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.
Stargel served two tours of duty with the Marine Corps in the late 1940s.
For over 25 years he was Corporate Counsel and Office Manager for Law Construction Company in Gainesville.
During that time that he was elected to the City Commission (now City Council) of Gainesville serving as Mayor in 1972-1973. While serving as Mayor, Gainesville experienced racial tension which threatened to escalate into a full-fledged riot.
For his leadership during this time of crisis, Stargel was awarded the Citizen Award from the local Civitan Club for his "coolness under great pressure and astute handling of a potentially very dangerous racial disturbance."
In 1976 he stepped down from the City Commission after he was appointed Administrative Law Judge for the Georgia State Board of Worker's Compensation, a position he held until his retirement in May of 1994.
During this time, he remained a proud and passionate member of the Marine Corps Reserve, obtaining several promotions before being named a Lieutenant Colonel before his retirement.
Bob Hamrick, who served with Stargel on the City Council and is still a member of the body, said Tuesday night "Gainesville has lost a dedicated public servant."
Hamrick added that Stargel was "always concerned about what was best" for the city and "constantly brought fresh, new ideas for the council to consider that would improve the quality of life in Gainesville."
The funeral will be at noon Friday at Little-Davenport Funeral Home.
(A full obituary is posted on the AccessNorthGa.com Obituaries Page.)