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Cancer takes life of former Pleasanton Mayor Ken Mercer

Original post made on Jan 14, 2014

Former Pleasanton Mayor Ken Mercer died early this morning after a long battle with cancer.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, January 14, 2014, 12:29 PM

Comments (47)

Posted by Rick, a resident of Parkside
on Jan 14, 2014 at 1:48 pm

This is a sad day indeed for Pleasanton. His legacy will live on forever. Well Done Ken.....a life, well lived.

My prayers go out to his family

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Jan 14, 2014 at 2:18 pm

Rest In Peace.

Posted by John & Kathy Billings, a resident of Valley Trails
on Jan 14, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Ken was our neighbor and friend for 25+ years. He did so much for Pleasanton that made it such a fine city as it is today. He was a
good Father and Grandfather. Our thoughts and prayers are with all
his Family. We will miss our friend.

Posted by Siena, a resident of Birdland
on Jan 14, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Ken will always be in mine and my familys hearts!!! Im so glad you've been a good family friend for 25 years!! RIP <3 My thoughts and prayers are with your family!!

Posted by Shawn Wolchow, a resident of Oak Hill
on Jan 14, 2014 at 3:55 pm

Mr Mayor - May you fly to the Angels and root for the kids playing soccer in heaven.. I miss the soccer parade's now that my son is grown. You were the first and best mayor that Pleasanton has had.. Love & prayers to your family and to all friends. I will miss seeing you downtown,sir.

Posted by Garry Senna, a resident of another community
on Jan 14, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Ken was a class act and a person who shaped Pleasanton into the great community it is today .

Posted by Joe & Janet Cristiano, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jan 14, 2014 at 4:30 pm

We are saddened by the news of Ken Mercer. This is a wonderful man that gave so much to the Pleasanton Community for such a longtime. He will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his entire family.

Posted by Becky Dennis, a resident of Foxborough Estates
on Jan 14, 2014 at 10:18 pm

Ken should also be remembered for encouraging resident involvement. Looking back, it seems to me that Ken valued civic debate, and created many citizen forums for thoughtful examination of controversial issues. He set a standard for community participation, consideration of diverse opinion, and stakeholder inclusion that persists to this day. In addition to all he accomplished as Mayor, Ken Mercer fostered a virtual army of volunteer community activiists, advisory committee members, commissioners, and Council members. It's quite an amazing legacy. Thank you, Ken!

Posted by Mike Belecky, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jan 14, 2014 at 10:20 pm

Mayor Mercer was an outstanding person. He will be missed by so many. He was looked up to by all of Pleasanton. His legacy will last a very long time. He guided our wonderful town into what it is today. Thoughts and prayers to Chuck Mercer and all your family.

Posted by Mike, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jan 15, 2014 at 7:15 am

Thank you for your service.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 15, 2014 at 7:34 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Ken was a strong leader and clearly cared about Pleasanton and its future. My condolences to his family.

Posted by Art Morley, a resident of another community
on Jan 15, 2014 at 7:50 am

My heart felt prayers go out to the Mercer family at this challenging time. Ken was so instrumental making Pleasanton the special city it is today. His legacy will last forever and I am grateful to have known him.

Posted by Nancy, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jan 15, 2014 at 8:31 am

Over a 40 year resident of Pleasanton, my husband and I so sorry to hear about this great loss to our city. Ken was a forward thinker and pursued what he thought best for this community. In fact, he continued to question all ideas or projects he felt might be detrimental to Pleasanton, even when he was out of elected office. He loved this community. We highly respected Ken and he will be greatly missed. Our thoughts go out to his family.

Posted by Chris Miller, a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Jan 15, 2014 at 9:03 am

God bless Ken Mercer--he served in office during the time that many great changes were coming to Pleasanton. He really cared about our community and its future as a great place to live and also to work. He loved Pleasanton with all of his heart. It is truly sad that cancer hit him while still so young--he loved his son and daughter and he really loved his grand children big time. His family and friends will truly miss him. He was a good man.

Posted by Jill Buck, a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 15, 2014 at 9:07 am

My heart goes out to his family. I loved seeing him at school and sports events for his grandkids. He was so kind, so keen, and always made you feel valuable when working with him on a community project. He brought out the best in others, & was a wonderful leader. He will be dearly missed.

Posted by Ron, a resident of Foothill Farms
on Jan 15, 2014 at 9:27 am

You left a great legacy for the city and for your family. God Bless!

Posted by Dale Morris, a resident of Downtown
on Jan 15, 2014 at 9:36 am

It was just less than a month ago I chatted with Ken at club sport, he never let on that he was so Ill, that was the kind of person he was, never once complaining about himself while we talked about the city and a couple of projects I was working on. What a loss to our town, god bless Ken, I know your up there right now organizing a meeting to make heaven a better place. We will always remember your strength and dedication to our lovely little town.

Posted by Ron Morrow, a resident of Oak Hill
on Jan 15, 2014 at 9:59 am

Thanks Ken for all your time and effort for the city of Pleasanton. Thanks for being a good friend. My condolences to the family.

Posted by Joe Crosslin, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jan 15, 2014 at 10:03 am

Ken was always gracious and friendly whenever I would see him. He was also a great mayor of Pleasanton, he did a lot of good work for the city and it's citizens.

Posted by Roger and Jane Mannng, a resident of Happy Valley
on Jan 15, 2014 at 12:00 pm

We are so saddened on the sudden loss of this great guy. He was a dedicated Mayor and council member that guided our town through many growing pains. He always thought about Pleasanton first.
He was a good friend and co-worker at so many of our community events and BBQs. Our prayers are with you Ken and your beautiful family.

Posted by David Bouchard, a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Jan 15, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Ken was instrumental in shaping our community as a city official and through many other volunteer activities; the outcomes from all his efforts can still be seen and appreciated. I will remember Ken with great admiration for his leadership of the Chamber of Commerce, where he was President and served on the Board of Directors and numerous committees for many years. I'm glad that I had the opportunity to know Ken Mercer!

Posted by Bob Butler, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 15, 2014 at 2:03 pm

I served with Ken for my entire four terms on the city council. I will always remember that he approached every issue that came before us with the same question: "how will this improve the City for its citizens?" He believed that every person was important to the city, and each one's voice should be heard. Ken, I'm glad your suffering is over, and you can go about organizing things in heaven. My prayers go out to your family.

Posted by Robin Neal, a resident of Foothill Farms
on Jan 15, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Ken was a fantastic advocate for whatever would make Pleasanton a great place to live. He fought some tough battles to make Pleasanton a great community to both live and work in. Thank you for your years of dedication, what a difference you made. Heartfelt prayers to your family and friends.

Posted by Sad loss, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Pleasanton has recently lost two former mayors -- Ben Tarver and Ken Mercer.

When each left office, neither ended up destroying their reputations by being hired by developers to push destructive development projects like Tom Pico did (Lins and Sarich both hired Tom Pico within weeks of Pico leaving office to lobby for developers).

Both Ben Tarver and Ken Mercer will be missed.

Posted by Penny Pickens, a resident of Downtown
on Jan 15, 2014 at 5:08 pm

Knowing Ken made me want to be a better person. I used to say that although I slept in San Ramon, I LIVED in Pleasanton. My involvement in the community was in due in great part to the wonderful selfless example he set. I cherish his memory. Rest in peace dear friend and say hi to Chuck for me. My sincere condolences to the family.

Posted by Rudy, a resident of Birdland
on Jan 15, 2014 at 8:43 pm

Ken Mercer was an amazing man. He was a great mayor, and shaped pleasanton into what it is today. Without Ken pleasanton would be a lot different. Ken wasn't only a great mayor but a great father and grandfather. He loved his children and grandchildren so much. Rest in peace Ken Mercer you will forever me in my heart and the citizens of pleasanton. My prayers go out to Kens family and friends❤️

Posted by Dustin Van Fleet, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 15, 2014 at 9:33 pm

I will miss our talks, laughs and especially the jokes. My mornings at the gym won't be the same.

God bless you and your family.

Posted by David Haubert, a resident of Dublin
on Jan 16, 2014 at 5:51 am

Ken Mercer was a great man, a friend and mentor to me and I miss him dearly already. He touched so many people in so many different communities throughout his life. Stories to fill three lifetimes! My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, especially his son, Chuck Mercer, also a good friend and teacher in Dublin.

Posted by Bob and Jackie Fretwell, a resident of Birdland
on Jan 16, 2014 at 7:57 am

Ken was a great neighbor when we lived there. He was very good to my Dad who lived with us at the time. When I came home from work, Dad would say: "Robert--that Kenny down the street is a nice guy that helps me now and then, while you are gone". Our heart goes out to Chuck and Shelly and the entire family. Bob and Jackie

Posted by Mary Mendez, a resident of Ironwood
on Jan 16, 2014 at 9:30 am

Ken not only was a great civic advocate, he was an avid advocate for his friends when they needed him. I will never forget his help when Don was so seriously ill.

He has been a huge supporter of our Pleasanton/Tulancingo Sister City and we will miss him at the BBQ. My family and I will be praying for Ken and his family.

Posted by Doug Porter, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jan 16, 2014 at 9:45 am

I lived in Pleasanton from 1978 until 2006. I watched as Pleasanton became a great community to live in, and Ken was so instrumental in its developement. He was in my monthly POKER group,and we shared lots of laughs and discussions about everything. Knowing Ken Mercer and all his accomplishments bring back lots of good memories.

My thoughts go out to his family.

Posted by Ben Fernandez, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 16, 2014 at 10:07 am

Ken was one of my dearest friends. The thought of him being gone is incomprehensible to me. I really thought he was indestructible. I first met him in 1972. We became friends immediately. I worked on all of his campaigns for office and was pleased to do so0. Of particular note was the Measure A campaign in the early 80s. Ken and I worked together, with a lot of other eager volunteers putting fliers together, arranging forums and knocking on doors to preserve the vision of Hacienda Businees Park. We knew thiswas the right way for Pleasanton to move ahead. We did win. Without Ken's contribution, it may not have been possible. More than this, he was my friend. We never had a kind word for one another, but that is what friends are all about. I never told him how much i loved him and respected our friendship. I am sorry it has to be under these circumstances.

Posted by Dorene Paradiso-Carroll, a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 16, 2014 at 10:40 am

I am thankful to Ken for all of his knowledge, support and warmth through-out the many years. We worked hard and just about made it all happen. It certainly was challenging and fun trying. Our citizens owe Ken a debt of gratitude for playing a major role in helping to form Pleasanton into the great sustaining City it is today. He will truly be missed. May God grant you, Ken Mercer, Eternal Peace and Bless your Loving Family. Remembering You In My Prayers,

Posted by Elaine Olson, a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 16, 2014 at 10:43 am

Ken was a large reason why our family was able to remain living in Pleasanton. He and much of the community had fundraisers under the Olson Family Fund. If it hadn't been for Ken's ability to allow these events to happen, Im not sure where we would have been after our terrible tragedy in 1998. He always asked how my family was doing and I was so lucky to be able to have run into him last July and thank him once again for his involvement and how he had impacted our lives. Its with very sad acknowledgement to recognize his passing and I know many will miss his presence. I know my family will. All our blessings go out to his family.
Elaine Olson

Posted by Tom Richert, a resident of Castlewood
on Jan 16, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Everywhere you look you will see Ken's work, "if you build it...they will come", and our city will forever be blessed with high paying jobs and a tax base the envy of every community. Ken took a great town to higher heights...thanks to Ken and his family.

Posted by Janice Clark, a resident of Jensen Tract
on Jan 16, 2014 at 6:28 pm

I've lived directly across the street from Ken for 15 years. It is very difficult to look out my window today. Ken was an awesome neighbor who always had a great story to share, loving words about his family, commentary on the important issues, and pretty funny jokes. I am left shocked by his passing, as he never told me about his illness. In hindsight, I now know why he has been sharing even more of his wonderful stories about his grandchildren in the recent months. We regularly talked (bragged) about our grandkids, and a few weeks ago, he told me to start scheduling one-on- one dates with them. He said these 'special' dates are priceless. I followed his advice, as we in this town have learned to do, and I thanked him for sharing another great idea! I will so miss the weekend mornings on the curb just taking about our kids. What an awesome father and grandfather he was! My neighborhood will never be the same.
God Bless you, Ken

Posted by Dick &JoanneHoward, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2014 at 10:03 pm

Ken was a great friend of both Joanne and myself.He ran the town with deep compassion. He always had a joke to tell, mostly good, sometimes not so good but that didn't matter. It was his telling it that was important. We also had some good times playing basketball Saturday mornings at Amador High. Ken was a member of the notorious "Greenfield Gunners". We all enjoyed the coffee and donuts afterwards. I thank God for our times together.

Ken was a great mentor to me when I was Director of Hope Hospice. That was Ken's style; always available to listen and share his expertise when requested. I'll remember him as a very fun loving, fair,intelligent, generous friend who made our world a better place. Sleep in peace, Ken.

Posted by Ben Fernandez, a resident of another community
on Jan 17, 2014 at 2:21 pm

I know that folks do not need another message from me, but would like to make a suggestion regarding Ken Mercer while the huzzahs are coming in. Pleasanton has named streets, buildings, parks, etc. after notable figures in Pleasanton history. As far as I know, none have been dedicated to Ken, who did more for this community than anyone I know in the 40+ years I have been active there. I am sure Ken has refused such recognition in the past. I think it is the proper time to consider such a gesture. Not being as active as I have been in the past, I have no concrete suggestion, but I encourage the City, Chamber of Commerce, School District, Sports Groups, etc. to come up with something appropriate. Ken's memory should live on.

Posted by Marty, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2014 at 2:55 pm

I met Ken just after I graduated from high school. Ken and my late husband, Roger Dabney, were best of friends from childhood. They played on many sports teams together and both were dynamic athletes. Ken and I became very close friends during these early years. Ken was in our wedding and Roger was in his wedding. Roger was GodFather to Shelley and Ken was the GodFather of my daughter, Amy. Ken's family was so supportive of my family when Roger was sick and after he passed away 25 years ago. After Roger died Ken and his brother, Norm, and may people in our community came to our home and painted it. My daughters still remember Ken being in the stands at their sporting events to cheer them on. We have had a close relationship for many years. I was so saddened when Ken called me before Christmas with the news that he was not well. Ken was the most wonderful friend and I will deeply miss him. He adored Shelley and Chuck and all of his grandchildren. He was so proud of all of their accomplishments and talked of them constantly. I was blessed to spend some time with Ken at the end of his life. Shelley and Chuck are the most loving and caring children. They were always at Ken's side. Ken's kindness, compassion, and love will live on in Shelley and Chuck and in Ken's grandchildren.

Posted by Joe Hill, a resident of another community
on Jan 19, 2014 at 9:52 am

Pleasanton has truely lost a great advocate whose goal was to improve the quality of life for it's residents. It is my pleasure to have known him and to have worked with him during my tenure as Pleasanton's Fire Chief.

Job well done Ken!

Louetta's and my sympathies for his passing go to his family.

Posted by Privatize, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Many of us residents of this town would have a problem naming something after a person who promoted a union-backed parcel tax to steal out money for over-paid union teacher.

Posted by Dave, a resident of Castlewood
on Jan 19, 2014 at 9:00 pm

Hey Privatize - I'm betting you and "many of us residents" have done next to nothing to better this town... and you have a problem with memorializing a man who dedicated his life and actions to making this community the one you chose to move to?? Go out and do 1/100th of what Ken Mercer did for this community and you will be admired by all.

Posted by Alyce Anderson, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jan 20, 2014 at 12:17 pm

Ken Mercer was and will always be "Mister Pleasanton."
He was a very special person and will never ever be forgotten for all his good deeds and caring. He leaves us with lots of good memories, and he will be terribly missed!

Posted by Mike M, a resident of Downtown
on Jan 20, 2014 at 3:51 pm

If Pleasanton ever carves a Mt. Rushmore, I would be curious to see who the other three faces might be...

Posted by Patty and Dick Daggett, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 20, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Ken aways had a smile. A true gentleman that said what he meant and meant what he said. He will be missed by the community of Pleasanton that knew him. To the family our prayers are with you all.

Posted by Gary Schwaegerle, a resident of Downtown
on Jan 25, 2014 at 9:59 am

A man that gave so much and served with compassion. It was a joy to see Ken for 20 years (we served together) at Chamber of Commerce meetings: He would bring great wisdom to subject matters, He will be deeply missed by so many. May God Bless & keep Your Family. Gary & Phoebe Schwaegerle & Family

Posted by c d gigliotti, a resident of Birdland
on Jan 25, 2014 at 12:57 pm

I'm so saddened to hear of Kens' death. I want to express, on behalf of my family, our deep sympathy to Kens' family for their loss. Our prayers & thoughts are with you. He definitely will be missed. I do agree with Ben's last note. Ken needs to be publicly & permanently memorialized in some way for all the good he did in this community.

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