PHOENIX — Former Mayor Larry Parducci, a longtime resident who served in capacities ranging from business owner to mentor and community volunteer, died Monday at Rogue Regional Medical Center. He was 68.
Born July 30, 1944, Parducci, manager of Holiday RV Park, was still a common sight at city meetings following his own nearly two decades of public service.
Parducci ventured into city government in 1988, serving eight years on the City Council and another eight as mayor.
He guided the city in development of Blue Heron Park, worked on a Phoenix-Talent water connection and talked state officials into approving a Home Depot store near the city's freeway access.
He advocated for the city's interests in larger area projects, such as the Regional Problem Solving process and state redesign plans for the Fern Valley interchange.
Urging the city to move forward yet not "grow without thinking," Parducci passed the mayor's gavel in 2004 when term limits forced him to step down.
Still, those who knew him say he remained part of the community and cared about the city.
"Go ask Larry Parducci" was a common piece of advice uttered to new city officials or residents seeking valuable "institutional memory" on many issues or pieces of property.
Former Councilman Steve Schulman said Tuesday that the city had "lost a great friend this week." He remembered Parducci helping him as a new council member following the 2004 election.
"When I first got on council, everybody said if you want to know what has transpired over the last however many years, go talk to Larry Parducci, and he'll bring you up to speed," Schulman recalled. "And he did. He really helped me become more effective as a councilor almost from the get-go."
Even in recent days, Schulman said, Parducci had been tooling around the park, repairing a swimming-pool pump and keeping busy.
Mayor Carlos DeBritto and his wife, Jan, offered condolences to Parducci's family. DeBritto, who served a stint under the former mayor, said Parducci's contributions to the city were immeasurable.
Jan DeBritto said Parducci was an active part of the community, involved not only in city government but as an avid supporter of the Lions Club and the club's cribbage tournament benefit.
Former Councilman Mike Stitt, host of the Phoenix "Council Watch" Facebook page, posted a memorial on Tuesday and remembered the former mayor for appointing him as a planning commissioner more than a decade ago.
"Larry was good people — the best. At the office at the Holiday RV Park is a plaque from the city employees honoring Larry for all that he did," Stitt said.
"I remember, on the Planning Commission, somebody wrote a letter unhappy with something I said, and I told Larry I was sorry. He just smiled and said, 'Mike, that means you're doing something.' Larry was great that way."
Services for Parducci will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, inside the Perl Funeral Home chapel at 2100 Siskiyou Blvd., in Medford.
Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.