Working with people and serving his community—those were things that former Monticello Mayor Kenneth Catron were proud of. They were the motivation that brought him to City Hall and the office where he would serve five terms and a total of 21 years.
"It's about helping people, that's what it is all about," Catron
stated during one of his final interviews with The Outlook.
The man who will long be remembered as "the mayor" passed away on
Thursday, March 5 at Wayne County Hospital. He was 83 years old.
Catron was born and raised in the Sunnybrook community of Wayne
County, one of eight children of Cress and Lessie Catron. Catron
served two years in the Army. He lived for 10 years in Champaign,
Ill. where he worked for one of the largest dry cleaning companies in
the nation. That was the training ground that eventually brought him
back home where he founded his own chain of dry cleaning businesses.
Catron became in-volved in the community, serving three terms on the
Monticello City Council under Mayor Carl Shearer. When Shearer left
office, Catron ran as his replacement. He was first sworn in as Mayor
in January 1982.
His five terms and 21 years had some interruptions, and included
some election losses, but no matter where Catron went during the
years he was not in office he always found his way back to City Hall.
"I really think it was the love of people and trying to help
people," Catron said during a 2010 interview. "There are so many
different ways you can help, just being able to listen to people and
their problems and trying to find a solution."
During Catron's tenure at City Hall, Wayne County became part of the
Empowerment Zone designation—an initiative that resulted in the
creation of hundreds of jobs and the expansion of the local houseboat
industry. He also headed up a downtown revitalization project, which
brought a whole new look to the area. Water and sewer plant
improvements were made, with services expanded to more customers.
Flags around the community were lowered to half-staff in honor of
Catron at the request of Mayor Tracie Sexton.
In a statement issued on Friday, March 6, Sexton expressed her
sadness at the Catron's death.
"Catron served the City of Monticello for a total of 27 years,
having served six years on the Monticello City Council and 21 years
as at the Mayor of Monticello," she said in the statement. "Our
deepest sympathy is extended to the family and friends of Mr. Catron."
Catron is survived by his wife, Betty, and his children, Tammy
Catron, Kenny Catron and Jason Catron.
Services for Catron were held on Sunday, March 8 at the Hicks-Vaughn
Funeral Home. Military honors were provided by D.A.V. Chapter 105
with burial in the Elk Spring Cemetery.
A large procession of local officials accompanied Catron to his
final resting place Sunday afternoon and the large American Flag,
displayed by the Monticello Fire Department, flew over the entrance of the cemetery.
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