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Lake Saint Louis mayor dies at age 71

MayorRalph Sidebottom, who said being elected mayor of Lake Saint Louis was one of his dreams, died Sept. 15 at his home of pancreatic cancer.

Sidebottom, 71, was elected mayor in April 2013, defeating incumbent Mike Potter by 12 votes. Prior to becoming mayor, he served seven years on the city’s Board of Aldermen representing Ward 1. For three years he was president of the board.

He ran for alderman in the city after retiring in 2005 as international vice president of the Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied workers. He served 33 years as a labor relations representative and an arbitrator. Sidebottom and his wife, Lillian, moved to Lake Saint Louis from Laurel, Maryland, in 1989 after he became the union area director for the Midwest.

Communications was a word that Sidebottom used often as an elected and union official.

“Whether you have lived in Lake Saint Louis for a while or you are a new resident, it is important to keep the line of communication open with your elected officials,” Sidebottom stated in his official biography on the city’s web site. “I am first, last and always your public servant.”

He looked out over a crowded board meeting where he was sworn into office in April 2013 and asked that residents not be strangers to city hall.

“It’s important that we have your input,” Sidebottom said.

Despite his illness, he remained active in city affairs, continuing to preside over board meetings. He remained optimistic about his health and the city. His only public complaint was about a persistent cough caused by medication that bothered him during board meetings.

At the board’s July 7 meeting, with his grandson and grandson’s fiancée in attendance, he told the board and audience that his cancer medication was not effective. A change in medication had helped calm his cough so he could better communicate, he said with a smile. He also said he would continue to work toward the betterment of the city.

“There is no question I have been truly blessed to be part of the greatest city I think in St. Charles County,” Sidebottom said.

He noted that the board doesn’t always agree, but said he and the aldermen always work in one direction toward a common goal with a great staff supporting them.

“That makes this job enjoyable,” he added. “It was a dream of mine to do this (become mayor) one day. I’m now sharing that with you all, and I’m hoping to share it with you for a great deal of time to come.”

According to the city’s website, visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 19 at Pitman Funeral Home, 1545 Wentzville Parkway. The funeral will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 20 at the funeral home, followed by a reception at 1 p.m. at the Lake Saint Louis Community Association, 100 Cognac Court in Lake Saint Louis.

His survivors include his wife, Lillian, a son, Joseph Sidebottom of Mt. Airy, Maryland; two daughters, Denise Eileene Pickrell of Rockledge, Florida, and Deborah Garnette Vasques of Wentzville. He also is survived by a brother, Ray Sidebottom of Severn, Maryland; sister, Janet Ann Pelton, of Colorado; seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Sidebottom was a member of the Cookout Club, Pontooners Club and Ambassadors Club and an avid shooter, scuba diver, downhill skier, photographer and woodworker.

Memorial donations may be made to the Lake Saint Louis VFW Post 10350 or to Volunteers in Medicine, in care of Pitman Funeral Home, 1545 Wentzville Parkway, Wentzville, MO 63385.

 

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