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Update: City and community mourn DeKalb mayor

The city of DeKalb is mourning the death of Mayor Frank Van Buer after he died Wednesday from a battle with pancreatic cancer. Van Buer was serving his first term in office, which began in 2005. An acting mayor to finish out his term, which ends in May 2009, will be selected by the city's seven aldermen at an upcoming city council meeting. Friends of the community leader remember Van Buer's excitement during both his election victory and when he stepped into office. Sycamore Mayor Ken Mundy knew the Van Buer from when they both worked at Northern Illinois University. Van Buer was an economics professor there for at least 25 years. “We were in communication the day after the election. We arranged meetings to get together and ... to learn from each other's communities,” Mundy said in a phone interview. Father Ken Anderson at St. Mary Catholic Church in DeKalb remembers the mayor as a family man, even in his public life. Van Buer's wife, Mary Beth, his children and grandchildren attended the swearing-in ceremony before the first city council meeting he conducted, Anderson recalled. “At the ceremony, it was ‘Mayor Van Buer,' but it was also ‘Dad' and ‘Grandpa,'” Anderson said in a phone interview. “His family was really the sparkle of his life.” A moment of silence will be held at Monday's city council meeting, which as of Wednesday afternoon is still scheduled to start at 6 p.m. in the council chamber at the DeKalb Municipal Building. Flags at city-owned buildings are being flown half-staff, and city workers Wednesday afternoon draped a black bunting over the entrance to City Hall in his honor. Assistant City Manager Rudy Espiritu was awaiting word Wednesday afternoon from Van Buer's family to announce funeral arrangements or other city-planned memorials. “He had a lot of faith in this community,” DeKalb Community Development Director Russ Farnum said.

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