Jerry Boyd, a Mesa city councilman from 1988 to 1996 and the city's 2001 Man of the Year, died Friday after a long battle with cancer. He was 59.
Boyd logged more than two decades of civic service, including work with Mesa United Way, Boy Scouts of America, Mesa Host Lions Club, Project WOW (Women Off Welfare) and numerous city boards and committees. He was a Mesa native and a graduate of Mesa High School.
"It's a sad day at City Hall," said Mesa City Manager Mike Hutchinson. "He was not only a great community leader and political leader, but a great individual."
Mesa leaders characterized Boyd, who helped break diversity ground as one of the few blacks involved in Mesa politics, as thoughtful, wise, caring, committed and passionate.
"I guess if you had to define a person as a nice man, it fits Jerry," said Mesa Mayor Keno Hawker.
Boyd, who was pastor of Holy Temple Church of God in Christ in Mesa, performed the marriage ceremony for Hawker and Mary Jo Vecchiarelli at Hawker's home.
"He was kind enough to come over and marry us," Hawker said.
Former Mesa Councilman Pat Gilbert said Boyd was probably the most self-effacing person he ever met.
"He's the kind of public servant and leader I hope to follow in many ways," Gilbert said.
Friends said Boyd underwent treatment within the last several years and showed signs of improvement until the cancer spread recently.
People interviewed Monday said they did not know what type of cancer it was.
Boyd would not talk about the illness, Gilbert said.
A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at Trinity Baptist Church in Mesa, 2130 E. University Drive. He is survived by his wife, Deloris, sons Robert and Ronald, and four grandchildren.