Updated 1: 30 p.m. Sept. 14: This story has been updated to include comments from other city officials.
Conroe Mayor Toby Powell, who was running for re-election, died late Sept. 12 due to cancer, according to the city. Powell was elected as mayor in 2016 and was to face Council Member Jody Czajkoski in November.
A lifelong resident of Conroe, Powell graduated from Conroe High School in 1959 and attended Sam Houston State University. He worked as a builder/developer for more than 50 years and was married to Vanessa Powell. They have four sons and a daughter, according to a city news release
Powell served on City Council in 1977 and 1978, and again in 2008-12. He served as mayor pro tem from 2010-12 and was a director on the Conroe Industrial Development Corp. from 2008 until his death.
He also served as a director on the Houston Galveston Area Council from 2008-10 and served four years as director and vice chairman of the Lone Star Family Health Clinic.
"He was a rock for our city and loved by people not just in Conroe but everywhere [he] went," Council Member Raymond McDonald said. "He was highly esteemed in municipal circles and a father figure in my life."
McDonald recalled regular visits to Powell's office, where he would mentor him as a council member. They would even pray together.
"His faith in Christ was powerful," McDonald said.
Mayor Pro Tem Duke Coon, who said he knew Powell most of his life, said he considered him a very close friend and mentor.
"I'm so blessed that I was able to serve by his side," he said. "Our focus is now to honor the mayor."
On Sept. 14, the city lowered its flags in remembrance of Powell. The flags will remain at half-staff until the mayor's interment, according to the city news release.
Assistant City Administrator Steve Williams said he worked with Powell over the last 12 years and believed he led with Christian values.
"It's a big loss for the city of Conroe," Williams said. "He was a good man, he was a good friend."
Powell's name will remain posthumously on the November ballot, McDonald said. A special election would need to be called should Powell garner the most votes, he said.
Coon is serving as interim mayor.