The Sumner City Council appointed Bill Pugh as mayor of Sumner Tuesday night after mayor Dave Enslow passed away last weekend. He was 75 years old.
Enslow had been admitted to the hospital on Dec. 15. due to a stroke and died Sunday morning.
“We share this news with great sadness and a heavy heart,” the city announced on its website. “We will miss him greatly.”
Enslow was only a few weeks away from retirement at the end of the year after serving on Sumner City Council for eight years and the past 12 years as mayor. In an article published in The Puyallup Herald on Dec. 13, Enslow reflected on his past 20 years of service and the city’s change.
Enslow’s daughter, Becky Enslow Elfers, posted on Facebook a picture of Enslow with Bertie, his wife of more than 40 years, after Enslow’s passing.
“It is with deep shock and sorrow that we say goodbye to a great man,” Becky wrote. “We love you, daddy, grandpa, husband, friend. Dave Enslow - July 14, 1942 - Dec 17, 2017.”
A public memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Jan. 6 at Calgary Community Church, 15116 Gary St E, Sumner.
“(The family) is doing well, obviously (Enslow) is being missed,” City Administrator John Galle said at the meeting on Tuesday.
The special meeting was held to determine who would stand in as mayor until the end of the year. Typically, Deputy Mayor Kathy Hayden would assume role as mayor during a temporary leave of the the mayor. But there were no policies in place when it came to death of the mayor.
“Our code is not perfectly clear in situations like this,” City Attorney Brett Vinson said at the meeting.
The Council decided an early appointment for Bill Pugh, who was elected the new Sumner mayor in November. He will serve a temporary appointment as mayor, and in January his official term as mayor will begin.
“I am completely on board with this. It makes more sense for a seamless transition,” Hayden said.
Emotions ran high as Pugh was sworn in for a second time.
“The first time was joyous, this one is unfortunately sad,” Pugh said, adding that Enslow was looking down at all of them. “That’s what helps me cope with the loss of such a dear person.”
Pugh knew Enslow well, having worked for the city as public works director for nine years.
“I owe him so much,” Pugh said. “He hired me and introduced me to the community and from there… it’s been such a blessing. It wouldn’t have occurred if he hadn’t taken that step and gotten me into (Sumner) Rotary. So I owe him a whole life out here in Sumner.”
Since Enslow’s death, Sumner communications director Carmen Palmer said there’s been an outpouring of responses from the community, locally and statewide. Sumner and Bonney Lake both lowered their flags in honor of Enslow, and flowers and gifts were sent to City Hall.
“Our hearts are heavy today as we mourn the loss of Mayor Enslow and remember all that he did for our students and schools. Sending our deepest sympathy to his family, friends and (the city of Sumner),” the Sumner School District posted on Twitter.
“Incredibly sad. Dave served the citizens of Sumner long and well,” Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier wrote on Twitter. “I had hoped he would have a long retirement with family.”
Council members shared their comments about Enslow.
“From the first time I met Dave Enslow it was very clear how proud he was of Sumner, and how much he loved his family. He will be missed,” Council member Patrick Reed said.
“Mayor Enslow had a warm inclusive style all his own. He would tell me when things were tough, remember this will stretch you and make you grow, which always made me laugh. Dave was a great mentor and I will greatly miss him, his phone calls and kind fellowship,” Council member Cindi Hochstatter said.
“Dave was a great asset to the city of Sumner and his passing is a huge loss,” Hayden said. “I had a lot of fun working with him the last four years. He was passionate about Sumner, and its citizens, and was well respected on a regional level. He will be missed.”
In the spring, City Council will look to implement policies for what to do in the event of the death of a mayor or other Council member.
For those interested in sending cards or gifts for the family, send them to Sumner City Hall, 1104 Maple Street, Sumner, WA, 98390.
The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Gordon Family YMCA at 16101 64th St. E., Sumner or online at ymcapkc.org.