COLLEGE PLACE — Flags at College Place City Hall were at half-staff this morning for Mayor Rick Newby, who died unexpectedly at his home Sunday.
Emergency workers were called to Newby’s home at 4:37 p.m. and found him in full cardiac arrest in a bedroom. He was pronounced dead at the scene, said Walla Walla County Coroner Richard Greenwood.
An autopsy is scheduled for today, Greenwood said. Funeral arrangements are pending with Herring-Groseclose Funeral Home.
Newby, 54, was appointed mayor in March 2009 after then-Mayor Ed Ammon and his family moved to Denver. He was subsequently elected to his first full term as mayor in 2010 and was re-elected to a second term last year, winning by a wide margin against challenger Lonnie Croft.
“Definitely I think everyone is in shock,” College Place City Administrator Pat Reay said this morning. The City Council is scheduled to meet this evening, but Reay said he expects all but the most essential business will be tabled.
During his run for re-election, Newby said he would bring “passion, experience, leadership (and) integrity” to the job. He said he was proud of the improvements to the city’s services and infrastructure that had occurred during his time on the Council, despite the struggling economy, budget cuts and growing state and federal regulatory burdens.
Reay said Newby was “extremely grateful to the community for allowing him to continue his work while serving as the city’s mayor.”
“He had several goals he wanted to complete, including the resurfacing of College Avenue and Rose Street ...,” he said.
Before becoming mayor, Newby had served on the city’s Planning Commission and as a City Council member.
Newby was a longtime employee with Bonneville Power Administration, where he was employed as a field information technology manager.
He is survived by his wife Barbara and several children.
Andy Porter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8318.