Harold Hofmann, who served as mayor of the South Bay city of Lawndale for more than two decades, died Saturday. He was 81.
One of California's longest-serving mayors, Hofmann died of natural causes at his home, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said. Before he was elected mayor of the city of 33,000, Hofmann spent 10 years on the Lawndale City Council.
"I think City Hall confuses the citizens," his wife, Doris, told The Times in 2010. "But they're not afraid of Harold. He knows a lot of people, and they would rather talk to Harold than go to City Hall to solve a problem."
Hofmann was described as a feisty leader who helped push through the construction of a new library and a three-story community center, despite presiding over councils "known more for bickering than implementing popular public policy," the Daily Breeze said in 2012. At the time, Hofmann had three stents in his heart, two hearing aides, a pacemaker and two artificial hips, but had only missed a council meeting once.
Hofmann ran a sewer-contracting business and lived in the same house where he grew up riding a horse to school along a dirt road. He is survived by his wife, their three children and eight grandchildren, the Daily Breeze said.
The couple had been married for about six decades and had recently been raising Boston terriers and an opossum they named Oppie.
Funeral services are pending.