Longtime mayor of Hazard, 86 year old Bill Gorman, died Saturday morning after an illness.
Now the community is remembering the man who dedicated his life to public service.
Gorman was born in 1924 and was a United States Army Veteran.
He became mayor of Hazard in 1978, and led the city until his
death Saturday morning.
“He was just an extraordinary person.” Says Carlos Combs, Hazard’s City Manager.
“I don’t think there is any way to explain how much the city of Hazard lost the best friend they’ve ever had in the City of Hazard.” Says City Commissioner Happy Mobelini.
Gorman had many accomplishments in three decades as mayor, from getting water lines for people in Perry County, to making strides in education, to many ground breakings and growth for Hazard. He never took a salary for the job.
“I thought after the first week, I wanted to quit, but it’s been a wonderful experience because you can do so much to help people.” Said Mayor Gorman in an interview with WYMT prior to his death.
Gorman made many through the years a "duke" or "duchess" of Hazard and handed out keys to the city.
He stood side by side with national politicians, including Robert F.
Kennedy during his trip to Eastern Kentucky to former President Bill
Clinton when he visited Hazard in 1999.
The people of Eastern Kentucky were always Gorman's top priority.
“He had a way of working with all people, didn’t matter how small they were, how big they were.” Says Combs.
“He knows everyone in the state and how to get things done. We’re just at a loss.” Says Mobelini.
Jack Gross knew the mayor since childhood.
“He just loved the city and never wanted to leave it.” Says Gross.
Gorman used many resources to help Hazard grow, one was operating Eastern Kentucky's first commercial television station, which later became WYMT.
The walls of city hall highlight his many other contributions. Buildings
and other places honor his accomplishments.
“The city is at a great loss. We will never be able to replace what Mayor Gorman has done for the City of Hazard.” Says Mobelini.
City officials and friends say Hazard will never be the same without Mayor Gorman.
“I couldn’t put it into word, he’ll be missed.” Says Combs.
“I never had a day I regretted being mayor of Hazard,” said Gorman in a previous interview with WYMT's Steve Hensley on the 30th anniversary of his first election win in 1977.
Friends say his legacy will live on, long after his death.
Mayor Gorman is survived by his wife: Nan H. Gorman; two daughters: Mary Suzanne Gorman & Meriwether Hall and husband Kevin ; two sons: William D. Gorman Jr. and wife Missy & James Lauchlan Wash and wife Anne; one brother: L.D. Gorman; four grandchildren: Casey (Blake M.)Bowers, Haley (James) Clark, Liam Lauchlan Wash & James Hagan Hall; two great grandchildren: Alexandra Ewing Clark & Catherine Emery Clark.
Gorman is also preceded in death by his one sister: Margaret Gorman Martin; two brothers: Perry Lee Gorman and Jonah Patrick Gorman.
Mayor Gorman will lie In state from 5-9 pm Monday, Oct. 11th at Hazard City Hall. He will also lie in state from 2-4pm Tuesday and services will begin at 4pm Tuesday, Oct. 12th at the Hal Rogers Forum in Hazard.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made to the William D. Gorman Memorial Fund c/o First Federal Savings & Loan P.O. Box 1069 Hazard, Ky 41702; this fund will benefit the Hazard Independent School System.