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500 turn out to remember former Mayor Ken Mercer

Tributes include his devotion to family, city of Pleasanton

A capacity crowd filled the Pleasanton Senior Center Saturday afternoon to hear family and friends of the late Mayor Ken Mercer praise his service on behalf of Pleasanton.

Speakers included former Mayor Bob Philcox, who led the proceedings, City Manager Nelson Fialho and former City Manager Deborah McKeehan, Brad Hirst, Ben Fernandez and Tony Macchiano.

His two children, son Chuck and daughter Shelley Despotakis talked about his love as a father and his passion for all of their activities as they grew up, including youth sports. That passion continued as his grandchildren, who also were at the service, played school and club sports.

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Mr. Mercer, 71, died last Tuesday. He was first elected to the City Council in 1976 and was re-elected twice to four-year terms, and then as mayor in 1986, winning re-election to that post in 1988, 1990 and then stepping down in 1992.

Prior to 1986, the term of mayor in Pleasanton was assigned on a rotational basis by the City Council and Mr. Mercer served in that capacity a number of times before becoming the city's first directly elected mayor.

He was remembered for his strong support of the development of Hacienda Business Park and Stoneridge Shopping Center, Pleasanton Sports Park and large-scale infrastructure improvements.

An American flag that was hoisted over Sports Park the day Mr. Mercer died was placed in a special display box and presented b y Fialho to the family at the end of the service.

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