Queen Creek Mayor Gail Barney died last night at the age of 74 after battling a lung infection for several months.
“It is with deep sadness that the Town shares the passing of Queen Creek Mayor Gail Barney," according to a press release. "Mayor Barney dedicated his life to service, his family, and the success of the Queen Creek community."
Barney was ending his tenure as mayor as he did not choose to run for another term.
Barney was nearly a life-long resident of Queen Creek, moving from Safford when he was just six months old in 1948.
“He grew up on his family farm and continued to farm in Queen Creek for many years, which is how he got involved in local government,” according to the release. “Mayor Barney often shared he was having trouble crossing Germann Road on his tractor, so he got involved and never looked back. He served on the Queen Creek Planning & Zoning Commission from 1998 to 2002, when he was appointed to fill a vacancy on the town council. He served as a council member until the was elected Mayor in 2010.”
Barney spent 20 years on the town council where he played a significant role in the development of the town.
“From opening Ellsworth Loop, to starting a fire department and providing municipal water services, Mayor Barney assisted the council with strategic decisions that helped propel the community forward,” the release stated. “Under his leadership as mayor, the town continued to make strategic advancements becoming the first municipality with a full funded pension system, and recently the launch of the Queen Creek Police Department.”
Barney firmly believed that it was the residents who made Queen Creek so special, and he was known for taking time to get to know residents.
“He shared [that] his greatest influences were his parents, local school leaders and the founding families who helped shape the community that was so near to his heart, the release stated. “Mayor Barney embodied what it meant to be QC neighborly -- while his years of leadership and dedication will leave a legacy in the Queen Creek community -- he will be sincerely missed.”
Barney is survived by his wife, Pam, three children, 16 grandchildren and five great grandchildren. Details about services or remembrances will be shared when they are available.
Under the town code and policies and procedures, Vice Mayor Jeff Brown will continue to perform the duties as mayor.
Current Council Member Julia Wheatley is running unopposed for mayor.
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