Longtime Gainesville City Councilman George Wangemann passes away at 72

By Austin Eller News Director
Posted 8:27AM on Thursday 18th January 2024 ( 4 months ago )

Longtime Gainesville City Councilman George Wangemann passed away on Wednesday at the age of 72.

Wangemann's wife, Judy, made the announcement Thursday morning to AccessWDUN. Services will be held Friday, Jan. 26, at 10 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Gainesville. The family will receive friends on Thursday, Jan. 25, at Memorial Park Funeral Home in Gainesville from 4 to 7 p.m.

Wangemann's passing follows his resignation in December as the Ward 4 representative on the Gainesville City Council. He previously told AccessWDUN he had been battling bladder cancer.

Wangemann had served on the Gainesville City Council for 38 years and was well known in the Gainesville Community due to his extensive volunteer work with Keep Hall Beautiful.

“It has been an absolute honor and privilege to serve the City of Gainesville for what some would consider a lifetime,” Wangemann said in a statement announcing his resignation in December. “Devoting these last 38 years to serving on the Gainesville City Council has been more fulfilling and rewarding than I ever imagined possible ... Thank you for trusting me all these years to be your voice – I hope I have made this Council, this community and my family proud.”

Gainesville Mayor Sam Couvillon told AccessWDUN in December that Wangemann always put others before himself. 

“The thing that I think of more than anything is how he treated others with respect,” Couvillon said. “He would always kick in to volunteer to help others. George, not only talked the talk, he walked the walk.”

Aside from serving as a council member, Wangemann also served as mayor of Gainesville for several years in the 1990s.

“The first year I served as mayor, I went to Japan for a Japanese-American conference, and I really enjoyed that,” Wangemann told AccessWDUN in June 2023.

Wangemann said some of his favorite moments throughout his decades in local politics related to his time with other council members.

“We all learn from each other, especially me – I learned from the older people on the council,” Wangemann said, speaking on his early days on the Gainesville City Council.

Looking to the City of Gainesville’s future leaders, Wangemann said service is essential.

“Try to serve as much as you can and remember that this is all service, it isn’t something you get paid for,” Wangemann said when asked to give advice to future council members. “Service is the key word as a council member.”

Wangemann was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and moved with his family to the Gainesville area in his early 20s.

His decision to get into local politics came about after encouragement from his father.

“My father wanted to become a congressman, and that never happened, but that was his hope,” Wangemann said. “And he says, ‘Why don’t you run for congress?’ and that never happened either. But I was happy to run for a community seat, such as the city council. I’ve enjoyed every bit of city council work. Every bit of it.”

At the end of the day, Wangemann’s service on the city council came from a passion for serving others.

“I always want to help somebody,” Wangemann said. “I still try to do that today.”

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