LIVINGSTON -- A veteran of city politics who spent years of his life fighting for what he believed in lost a battle of his own.
Bill Ingram, a former councilman and mayor pro-tem, died of cancer Sunday. He leaves behind a wife and five daughters.
Born Sept. 13, 1935, Ingram spent two terms on Livingston's City Council and wasn't afraid to speak his mind, said Councilman Warren Urnberg.
He first met Ingram in 2000 and recalls him having good people skills and a straight-forward attitude.
Since Ingram was in the Navy and Urnberg was in the Air Force, friendly banter between them was common.
"We used to kid each other about his boats and our airplanes," Urnberg said. "They don't like people referring to them as 'boats.'"
His service in the military helped define him as a person, said Donna Kenney, community development director.
"He used to tell me that discipline was the key to a strong family and a strong community," she said.
As a decorated Vietnam veteran with more than 33 years in the military, Ingram learned how to work with people, Urnberg said. Those skills were evident when he served on the City Council from 2000 to 2008.
Had it not been for his cancer, Ingram may be on the council now, Urnberg mentioned.
"He wanted to get back on the council to help the community," he said of Ingram, whom he considers a brother. "If he hadn't been sick, he probably would have been in my position. He was first on the list."
Even when he was off the council, Ingram stayed informed on city politics and was a regular at City Council meetings.
Councilwoman Theresa Land knew Ingram for a little more than a year, she said. Ingram gave her a few pointers before she became a council member last month.
"He was a very good man," Land said. "He will be missed."
Ingram's broad knowledge of the city was helpful when he served on the council, said former mayor Gurpal Samra.
Though they often got into heated political discussions, the two remained friends through the years.
His time in the military showed his dedication to serving country, Samra said. His time with the volunteer fire department showed his dedication to serving the community.
As a fiscally-conservative member of the council, Ingram commonly questioned spending, but always supported recreation -- especially when it came to kids, Samra added.
Ingram's illness didn't slow him down while on the council, he even thought he had it beat at one time, Samra said.
"He was a fighter all his life," Samra said. "He fought for what he believed in."
Samra and Urnberg visited Ingram in the hospital Saturday. He was under a lot of heavy equipment, but still managed to talk.
During that final visit, Ingram fought to give the councilman and former mayor one more thumbs-up despite his pain.
Samra said he isn't sure how Ingram was able to hang on the way he did, but thinks he may have been waiting for his kids to be by his side once more.
Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or email@example.com.