Government & Politics

Billy M. Blackwell, the mayor of Lansing, dies at age 61

Billy M. Blackwell, the mayor of Lansing, Kan., died unexpectedly Saturday, the city announced. He was 61.

Blackwell was elected mayor of the city of about 11,600 people in 2012 and previously served on the City Council.

Council president Gene Kirby will be sworn in as mayor at Thursday’s council meeting.

“Mayor Blackwell’s untimely passing will be a hurdle our city needs to clear,” Kirby said in a statement on the city’s website. “I am hopeful that city staff and I can do our best to fill the void that Billy’s passing has left. He will be truly missed.”

Blackwell retired as a lieutenant colonel in the Army in 2001 and worked for Engineering Professional Services. He taught at the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.

Blackwell was a reserve officer for the Lansing Police Department from 2000 to 2003 and served on the city’s parks and recreation board from 2003 to 2006.

Blackwell, a native of Gaffney, S.C., is survived by his wife, Paulette, and son, Billy Jr. Visitation is 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday at the R.L. Leintz Funeral Home, 4701 10th Ave., Leavenworth. The service will be at 11 a.m. next Monday at the funeral home.