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Gil Coerper, Huntington Beach ex-mayor and veteran police officer, dies at 82

Gil Coerper, former mayor of Huntington Beach and longtime police officer, died over the weekend at the age of 82.

The cause of death wasn't immediately clear.

Coerper served as a Huntington Beach police officer for 39 years, according to a department news release. After he retired from the force, he served on the City Council from 2002 to 2010, including a stint as mayor in 2006.

Family members could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but several people responded to Coerper's death online.

"Thank you for you service to the citizens of HB," a Facebook post said.

"Gil, you have been an inspiration to me and a great friend," another post said. "Thank you for the gift of friendship and being a mentor."

As a member of the council, Coerper led the city to adopt the Third Battalion, First Marine regiment. Coerper has deep ties to the military, having served in the Navy during the Korean War and as a lieutenant colonel in the California State Military Reserve, the state defense force of California, the news release said.

"Because of this adoption, Huntington Beach now supports and assists the families of hundreds of Marines during their stateside deployments and to Iraq," the release said.

Coerper partnered with the Boy Scouts of America to organize Orange County's first Military Explorer Post — No. 558 — an organization that introduces young people to possible military professions. Coerper was given the Exploring Divisions' Award of Merit and the Silver Beaver award, distinguished Boy Scouts awards, the news release said.

Coerper also helped construct the California Police Officers' Memorial Monument at the state Capitol in Sacramento as a member of the California Peace Officers' Memorial Foundation and the California Peace Officers Research Assn., the news release said.

The Huntington Beach Police and Community Foundation, a nonprofit that raises money for the department's community programs, in 2016 established the Gil Coerper Educational Scholarship Award, a $1,000 academic award given to a child of a Huntington Beach police employee.

Information regarding Coerper's surviving family was not immediately available Wednesday afternoon.

Police spokeswoman Jennifer Marlatt said a public gathering in Coerper's honor might be held in April, though details have yet to be determined.

benjamin.brazil@latimes.com

Twitter: @benbrazilpilot

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