The city of Durant is mourning the loss of longtime community leader and businessman Leon Sherrer, who died Friday.
Sherrer, 94, was serving his second term on Durant city council, having been elected in 2003. He previously served two terms on the council in the 1960s, and had served as mayor during that era.
He died Friday evening shortly after a meeting. City officials say his wisdom and community minded attitude will be missed.
“He certainly was a legend and an icon here in our community,” said Durant Mayor Jerry Tomlinson. “In addition to that, he was a mentor to all of the city council members. We placed a lot of value on what he had to say. He didn’t always have a lot to say, but when he did, we listened. Not only have we lost a community service-minded individual, the state lost the most senior serving city council member in the state of Oklahoma.”
“It is with deepest sympathy that we announce the loss of a dear friend and staple of our community, Leon Sherrer,” the chamber said. “The Chamber expresses its condolences to the family of Councilman Sherrer as he will be greatly missed by many friends in our area.”
Born Feb. 6. 1920, in Snow, Okla., Sherrer grew up on a small farm. He graduated Antlers High School in 1939, and then spent 18 months in the Civilian Conservation Corps. He also worked as a carpenter at Camp Maxey in Paris, Texas, an air base in Dodge City, Kansas, and then in the San Francisco Bay area for four years during World War II doing ship repair and defense work.
Sherrer, with his brother Lloyd “School Boy” Sherrer, opened Sherrer’s Restaurant in 1948 on South Ninth Avenue in Durant. The brothers built the restaurant themselves, operating it together until Lloyd’s untimely death.
Leon Sherrer continued to manage the restaurant during the 18 years he worked for the Oklahoma School Land Commission and Civil Defense. The restaurant is in business today, and is famous for among other things, homemade pies that were made by Sherrer. He continued to work in the restaurant and always greeted his customers with a friendly smile and polite conversation.
Over the years, Sherrer has served on the Oklahoma State Small Business Council, the SODA Board, and is a life member of the Oklahoma Restaurant Association of which he has been a director for the last 35 years. He is active in First Baptist of Durant, where he has been a member since 1950.
A section of Highway 69 Business (South Ninth Avenue) was dedicated as the Leon Sherrer Highway in 2010.
Flags in the city will be flown at half staff from now through the day of the services.
Funeral services for Sherrer will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 2 at The First Baptist Church in Durant. Family hour will be from 7-8 p.m. Tuesday at Holmes-Coffey-Murray Funeral Home.
Matt Swearengin can be reached at 924-4388 or on Twitter@DDDEditor