Longtime Hoover Councilman Brian Skelton died late Saturday night on July 2 following a stroke he suffered on June 23.
Skelton was 56 and had battled numerous health problems in recent years, including bouts with liver cancer and colon cancer.
Skelton served 17 years on the Hoover City Council and was appointed mayor in 1999 after former Mayor Frank Skinner resigned and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failing to promptly report a $10,000 campaign contribution.
Skelton served one year as mayor and ran an unsuccessful campaign for mayor against three-term Councilwoman Barbara McCollum in 2000.
He sat out of public office for four years before getting elected to the City Council again in 2004. He remained as a member of the council until his death, serving as president pro tempore.
“Hoover’s lost a great leader and a servant and a dear friend of Hoover,” said Council President Jack Wright, who served with Skelton on the council most of those years. “He ran the race well, and there’s no doubt in my mind he’s with the Lord.”
Wright described Skelton as a statesman who didn’t believe in public bickering and fighting among elected officials.
“I think the people want their elected officials to solve the problems and not to put all their dirty laundry on the line,” Wright said. “He was a problem solver. He was a consensus builder for the better part of two decades. He was just a natural leader. He certainly never tried to be the first one to the microphone or to be on TV. Still waters run deep.”
Skelton had two siblings die in recent years, and his mother died within the past year, Wright said. But even with all his own health problems, Skelton’s attitude remained magnificent through it all, Wright said. “Nothing but a positive attitude.”
Hoover Mayor Gary Ivey, a longtime friend of Skelton, said his passing is a great loss to the city.
"His family has been an integral part of the city for many years," Ivey said. "He was a great dad, a great friend. He's really given back to the city, and he'll be missed by a lot of folks."
Skelton started working for his family’s business, the South Haven Nursing Home in Hoover, as a teenager in 1979 and eventually became its president. He then served as president of the South Haven Corp., an investment company that continued to own the nursing home after turning over management duties to another company.
Skelton served on numerous boards over the years, including the Hoover YMCA Board, Statewide Health Coordinating Council and Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama. He also served on committees of the American Heart Association and American Cancer Society. He was a longtime member of Hunter Street Baptist Church.
Skelton is survived by his wife, Angel, and three children, two of whom are now adults.
The funeral for Skelton is set for 2 p.m. at Hunter Street Baptist Church, with visitation from noon to 2 p.m. Southern Heritage Funeral Home is directing.
This article was updated at 8:27 a.m. with a comment from Mayor Gary Ivey and at 9:34 p.m. with funeral details.