Forest City’s mayor died Monday morning.

Seventy-two-year-old Byron Ruiter, known by many as Barney, worked in the city’s street department for 43 years and was in his sixth year as Forest City’s mayor.

Dan Davis, a member of the city council in Forest City, is community’s former police chief. The two men graduated from high school in the same class.

“We both started at the city in 1971,” Davis said. “He ended up being the head of one department. I ended up being the head of another one. We worked pretty good together.”

Another member of the city council said Ruiter’s death was going to be tough not only on his family, but to his work family and the community. A memorial mass for Ruiter is scheduled Saturday at 10 a.m. at the St. James Catholic Church in Forest City.

The city council has 60 days to decide whether to appoint a mayor or call for a special election to fill the vacancy.

(By A.J. Taylor, KIOW, Forest City)