William Combs, one of Moraga's first council members and a three-time mayor, passed away Monday. He was 79.

After the town incorporated in 1974, Combs was elected to its first council and served for 12 years.

Combs was a vice president at Longs Drug Stores, where he worked for more than 50 years before retiring in 1995. He was also on the board of directors for John Muir Medical Center and served on the Thomas Long Foundation until 2006, said Bob Combs, one of William's four children.

Bob Combs called his father a "great family man" who liked to escape to his house in Lake Tahoe whenever possible.

Born in Alameda, William Combs moved to Moraga in 1964 and lived there until 2005, when he moved to Danville to be closer to his children.

Sue Rainey, now mayor of Walnut Creek, served on that first Moraga council with Combs, and said they have remained a close-knit group.

"He had a brilliant mind and a great sense of humor and he really liked people and contributing," she said.

The council was kept busy with trying to set up the new town's government, and Combs was active in bringing the existing park and recreation department under the town's auspices, Rainey said. He also worked closely with Saint Mary's College, she added.

"We were very lucky to have him," Rainey said.

William Combs is survived by his wife of 59 years, Norma; children, Bob, Steve, Don and Kathy; and six grandchildren.

The family is planning a celebration of Combs' life. The date and time will be announced at a later date.


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Contact Jonathan Morales at 925-943-8048. Read the Lamorinda Sun blog at www.ibabuzz.com/lamorindasun.