Former Spokane Valley City Council member and Deputy Mayor Gary Schimmels passed away unexpectedly in his sleep early Wednesday.
Until he left office at the end of 2013 – he was defeated by Ed Pace in the November general election -- Schimmels had been the last remaining council member to have served since the city's incorporation. The longtime Valley businessman had served as the city's deputy mayor over his last four years in office.
"We are saddened today to hear of the passing of former councilperson Gary Schimmels,” said Spokane Valley Mayor Dean Grafos. "He served this community for many years and, along with his family, has a special and important place in Spokane Valley life and history. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Myrna and all of the Schimmels family."
Schimmels was a part of the city's foundation from the time before his election, distinguishing himself from a large number of council candidates in 2002. He participated in pre-incorporation meetings and assisting with the transition into cityhood.
Schimmels also represented Spokane Valley on numerous boards and committees, including the regional Solid Waste Advisory Committee and the Spokane Regional Transportation Committee, both of those through his entire tenure on the City Council. He had also been on the board of directors for Consolidated Irrigation District for more than 30 years.
"He enjoyed every minute of it,” said Myrna Schimmels. “He enjoyed the people he worked with, and he really thought a lot of the staff.”
Hennessey Funeral Home and Crematory in Spokane Valley are handling the service arrangements, which were not available at press time.