Mississippi Mills deputy mayor dies in Florida

John Levi, a "pillar of the community" for his politics and philanthropy, passed away Sunday after a brief illness.

Former mayor, businessman John Levi, 76, passed away Sunday

John Levi passed away in Florida on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019 after a brief illness. (Brian Hargreaves)

The Town of Mississippi Mills is mourning after its deputy mayor died over the weekend.

John Levi passed away in Florida on Sunday following a brief illness at the age of 76.

"Everybody knew John Levi. He was a pillar of the community," said Mayor Christa Lowry.

She had only worked with Levi for about six weeks since they were both sworn in, but remembers him and his family for many years before that.

When the ice storm hit in 1998, Mississippi Mills was without power for several days and people didn't have a way to take out money.

[If] someone needed something, he helped them.- Christa Lowry, Mayor of Mississippi Mills

At the time, Levi owned a local hardware store and gave out generators and supplies, telling people they could settle up later after the banks reopened.

"He was a very generous person that way," she said. 

"It was the way that John did things. It was quiet. [If] someone needed something, he helped them."

She said Levi was also a supporter of many different local organizations, including the local hospital.

Served as mayor, councillor

Levi was elected as deputy mayor in October and served as the town's mayor between 2010 and 2014.

He was defeated by Shaun McLaughlin in 2014.

He was also a councillor representing Pakenham and Almonte.

At a budget meeting on Tuesday, a single rose was placed in his spot at the council table.

A single rose sits in the place of Deputy Mayor John Levi in the council chamber to show respect for the longtime politician and philanthropist. (John Dalgity)

Levi leaves behind his wife, Helen, three daughters, a son, and many grandchildren.

Flags at municipal buildings have been lowered to half-mast. A memorial service will be held Sunday, with a separate tribute scheduled for Monday.

Residents can also sign a book of condolence available at the town's office at 3131 Old Perth Rd.

Lowry said council will not declare Levi's seat vacant until after his memorial. Under the province's Municipal Act, the town can either appoint someone to fill the seat or hold a byelection.