Ex-Taylor mayor Jeffrey Lamarand dies
Dexter — How Jeffrey Lamarand was remembered depended on the city and age of the person doing the remembering.
In Taylor, he was the former mayor, shepherding the city through a financially fraught period.
In Dearborn Heights, he was a teacher and coach, guiding students at Crestwood High since 1999.
In Dexter, he was a husband and father of two young children.
Lamarand, 45, died Sunday at his family's new home in Dexter. The cause of death wasn't released but didn't involve foul play, said police.
"I am at a loss for words," said Cindy Bower, Taylor city clerk.
After becoming mayor in 2009, Lamarand led a city whose coffers, like those in many cities, were perilously low. He cut staffing and implemented a deficit elimination plan approved by the state.
He had to make some tough decisions but did so with integrity and in the best interests of residents, said Angela Croft, Taylor council chairwoman pro tem. He survived a recall attempt in November 2011, having drawn some residents' ire for laying off police officers and firefighters, and closing two of the city's three fire stations.
Croft said she wouldn't be involved with the council if it wasn't for Lamarand. He encouraged and guided her involvement in public service.
"(It's) nothing less than tragic," said Croft. "I was proud to call him mayor, teacher and friend."
She described him as a great guy and loving family man.
After guiding the city through the rough financial patch, Lamarand lost his bid for re-election last year. The man who beat him, Rick Sollars, said Lamarand's death hit close to home.
Mayor Sollars said he was close in age to Lamarand and worked with him on the Taylor City Council and during the transition in administrations.
"This is a terrible shame," said Sollars. "The entire city of Taylor mourns his loss."
Before becoming mayor, Lamarand was a Taylor city councilman from 2005-09 and, before that, served on the Planning Commission, Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and Master Plan Steering Committee.
Dearborn Heights students knew a different side of the Taylor political leader.
Starting as a substitute teacher, he taught various subjects at Crestwood High during his 15 years starting in 1999. He taught physical education, government and other social sciences.
He also coached a variety of sports, including a nine-year stint as varsity softball coach.
Lamarand was married for 15 years. His wife, Mishelle, said in a statement that a private family service would be scheduled at a later date. She asked the public to respect the family's privacy.
"This is a very difficult time," she said. "We appreciate everyone's kind thoughts."