Former Hubbard Mayor and Trumbull County Commissioner Art Magee was once described as being as ''blunt as a sledgehammer. He speaks with an abandon that sends opponents and supporters flying up the scale toward some invisible gong.''
The newspaper columnist in 1982 also pointed to Magee's ''bare-knuckles approach to politics.''
Magee died May 28 at age 75.
A Marine Corps veteran, Magee loved spending time on the rear porch of his home on Dorchester Drive. He resigned as mayor in November 2009, saying he was unable to continue since he was recovering from a fall that broke his neck in the summer of 2009. He wore a neck-supporting halo for four months and said the injury was hampering his effectiveness. At the time of his resignation, he was in his second stint as mayor, which began in 2004. He was re-elected to a second term in 2007 with no opposition. It was his first stint as mayor from 1974-83 that he took over for incumbent Mayor Joe Baldine. Magee served as Trumbull County Commissioner 1983 to 1998, the longest tenure of any commissioner and he served on Hubbard City Council 1964 to 1965. He was president of council in 1974.
''He was just a hard worker. And he knew government very well,'' said Roselyn Ferris, longtime clerk for the commissioners office.
Former Warren Mayor and commissioner Michael O'Brien served with Magee for eight years and called him the ''ultimate public official.''
''I talked to him every day for eight years. He was in his office at 8 a.m. and never left until 5 p.m. I don't think he took lunch either,'' O'Brien said.
''If you look around at the buildings in downtown Warren, they have Art's fingerprints all over them,'' he said, listing off major renovations at the courthouse and administration building, along with new buildings to house the Trumbull County Jail and 11th District Court of Appeals.
''Art wasn't afraid to say what was on his mind. If he wrote a book on public service, everyone going into that line of work should read it,'' O'Brien said.
When he finally stepped down as mayor, Magee said the number one lesson he learned from his political career was the need to understand people. He said people in politics, especially in small towns like Hubbard, are interacting with the public every day.
''The one basic thing you learn every day is you learn how to understand people,'' Magee said.
Magee also said newcomers to politics, who expect things to happen overnight, must learn patience and know things don't happen right away.
When Democratic precinct members voted to replace Magee with Councilman Richard Keenan in December of 2009, Magee said the city was in good hands, although he also referenced the other city elected officials and employees.
''It's not just one person. ... We've got the best people around,'' Magee said.
He also deferred to the city residents. ''If you tell them the truth, they'll give you what you ask for,'' Magee said.
''The guy just loved Hubbard. And he wasn't one to ever give up. I just think the reason he resigned was he actually put the city ahead of any personal interest,'' said Al Sauline Jr., who served on council when Magee was mayor. Sauline served as mayor from 1988 to 1996.