PLEASANTON -- Ken Mercer, a mayor and city councilman from 1976 to 1990 during an era of rapid business and residential growth in town, died Monday at the ValleyCare Medical Center in Pleasanton.

The cause of death was not immediately disclosed, although friends say Mercer, 71, had been ill for some time.

Mercer become Pleasanton's first directly elected mayor in 1986, and served in that position until 1990, when he left city office and ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.

During Mercer's tenure in city office, Pleasanton attracted the Stoneridge Mall, the Hacienda Business Park and several residential developments, all of which helped shape the local landscape.

Friends called him an affable man who had strong feelings about attracting a mix of new businesses and homes to put the city on firm financial footing with a strong tax base.

"He was well liked in the community," said Frank Brandes, who served on the Pleasanton council with Mercer for many years. "Ken did a lot of things at a time when a lot of things were happening in Pleasanton."

Outside of his elected office, Mercer worked in a variety of community and government relations jobs, including many years with Pacific Telephone and most recently as ValleyCare Health System vice president of government relations.

As a weekend job for many years, Mercer used to leave his business suits at home and paint homes.


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"He just loved to paint homes," Brandes said. "It was good for him, and he did a good job of it. He painted my house."

Mercer was elected to three terms on the City Council between 1976 and 1986. He then won the city's first city contest for directly elected mayor in 1986. Before then, the mayoral post had been rotated among council members.

Service arrangements for Mercer are pending.

Meanwhile, a memorial service for another former Pleasanton council member, Karin Marcia Mohr, will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014 at the Pleasanton Senior Center, 5353 Sunol Blvd. She died Nov. 11 from injuries suffered in a fall.

Contact Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267. Follow him at Twitter.com/deniscuff