Jefferson

During one of his final Mansfield City Council meetings in December 2019, 4th Ward representative Walden "Butch" Jefferson expresses his opposition to proposed pay increases for elected officials in the city. (Richland Source file photo)

MANSFIELD -- Walden "Butch" Jefferson, a long-time former member of Mansfield City Council, died on Monday at age 72.

Jefferson represented the 4th Ward on council for 16 years before losing in 2019 an election for a fifth term to Alomar Davenport.

During his time on City Council, Jefferson was a fierce defender of north side residents. No one had a doubt how the staunch Democrat felt on the issues he debated and voted upon.

During his last campaign, the Bowman Street resident said, "I enjoy helping people and want to make sure the 4th Ward is treated as all other wards are, receiving the same services."

In his final meeting in December 2019, Jefferson fought against pay raises for council members and other elected city leaders, including the mayor, law director and finance director.

"When those elected officials ran for that job, they knew the amount of money they would be making," he said. "Citizens had elected them to do their jobs for that. ... It's a big jump. I personally took the job for the love of serving. I didn't take it for the money. It's unfortunate we had that freeze in 2008 or 2009, but i don't know that we need to catch up like that."

"We set the salary and offer a job," Jefferson said. "If you want that job, either bid on it or run for it as an office. If you don't, if you want to make $100,000, go to the private sector. Don't come here and try to push council any way to raise salaries compared to the private sector. ... In my opinion, they are compensated very well."

During the campaign, Davenport pointed out that Jefferson had always faithfully worked hard for the people he represented.

"Councilman Jefferson served the people of 4th Ward of Mansfield though his words and though his actions," Davenport said Monday evening.

"He took pride in speaking for the voiceless and showed me the job is about the people. He will be missed, but what he stood for will always stand," Davenport said.

Jefferson was born on March 3, 1949, in Mansfield to W.B. Jefferson Sr. and Pearl Jefferson.

After graduating from Mansfield Senior High School, Jefferson served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm, earning a Bronze star.

After leaving the military, Jefferson worked for AK Steel in Mansfield, retiring after 27 years.

He was preceded by death by his wife, Elaine Jefferson; parents, Pearl and W.B. Jefferson Sr., brother W.B. Jefferson Jr. and an infant sister.

Jefferson is survived by his sister, Rose McDougal; brothers, Wendell (Venetia) Jefferson and Clark (Brenda) Jefferson; companion, Julia West, and a host of nieces, nephews, other family and friends.

There will be a graveside service Saturday, Jan. 22, at 10 a.m. at the Mansfield Cemetery Veteran Honors Ground.

The Marlan Gary Funeral Home (formerly Williams Funeral Services) is handling arrangements.

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City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"