City officials had nothing but praise for former Ward 3 Councilman Gary Izo, who died Nov. 21. He was 71.
Ward 2 Councilwoman Jennifer Fenderbosch announced Izo’s death on Nov. 22, at the request of Izo’s wife, Ann.
Izo resigned from City Council effective Sept. 4, citing health reasons. Because of his health, Izo served less than a year on council, from January through September.
“Mr. Izo, in the period of time he was on council, did a great job representing the people of Ward 3, “ said council President Martin O’Donnell. “When he was elected last year his enthusiasm, not only to work with fellow council members but to work for the community, was just amazing.”
Izo had a lot of good ideas, O’Donnell continued, adding that unfortunately Izo was never able to carry out many of his thoughts.
“It’s a great loss to the community,” O’Donnell said of Izo’s death.
“Gary's love for the city of Avon Lake showed in his enthusiastic participation,” Fenderbosch said in a statement. “He was a great advocate for residents of not only Ward 3, but the entire city through his service on citywide committees. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Ann, and his family… Rest in peace, Gary, until we meet again.”
His career was always in public service, Izo said following his resignation.
About the time he was sworn into his first term, he underwent an annual physical, Izo said. Eventually, doctors informed him he had a type of blood cancer known as multiple myeloma, a disease that attacks plasma cells, a type of white blood cell that normally produces antibodies.
“Of course, I was just devastated,” Izo said earlier this year. “I explained to my wife Ann just what it was and said I was going to put my nose to the grindstone to try and come back from this. So, I went through chemo and things were coming along. It was stabilizing, but it was not going into remission.”
Eventually, he had to use a wheelchair.
Izo grew up in the same Lakewood neighborhood as Mayor Greg Zilka.They both also spent time in the Peace Corps.
“He always spoke from the heart,” Zilka said of Izo. “Both he and his wife Ann have been active members of the community.”
Izo spent three years in the Peace Corps in Thailand. He later worked 30 years for the U.S. Department of Justice and the Inspector General’s office and was a member of the Army Reserve.
Izo chaired several council committees, including the economic development and natural resources committees. Prior to his election to council, Izo served on the Zoning Board of Appeals from May 2018 to December 2019.
“Gary has a wide range of experiences,” Ann Izo said at the time of her husband’s resignation. “He was very devoted to his constituents. He grew up in a working-class neighborhood. He was the first in his family to go to college and he has accomplished a great deal in his lifetime.”
Memorial contributions in Izo’s name may be sent to Ames Hospice House, 30080 Hospice Way, Westlake, 44145 or Apollo's Fire Baroque Orchestra, 3091 Mayfield Road, Ste 217, Cleveland Heights, 44118.As of press time,
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