Former Bloomington mayor Walt Bittner passed away Wednesday at the age of 97.
Bittner served on the town's city council for 24 years, with eight of those years as mayor. He was elected to lead the city in 1969.
"He had character. He was honest and had integrity," said Rich Buchanan, who served as Bloomington mayor directly after Bittner. "What an example and a challenge he set for anybody who followed him. He set the standard for loyalty. He loved the city. Between councilman and mayor, I think he missed zero council meetings for 24 years. He planned vacations and anything else around being on the City Council."
Until this past spring, Bittner never missed an annual meeting of the Ewing Zoo Foundation, which he had attended since 1969. Bittner donated his downtown Bloomington home to the city in 1998, which is now called Mayors Manor and is used as transitional housing for homeless individuals.