PLEASANTON -- Ken Mercer, a mayor and city councilman from 1976 to 1992 during an era of rapid business and residential growth in town, died Monday at the ValleyCare Medical Center in Pleasanton.

Mercer, 71, had been battling pancreatic cancer.

Mercer became Pleasanton's first directly elected mayor in 1986 and served in that position until 1992. He later ran unsuccessfully for aseat on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors in 1996.

During Mercer's tenure in city office, Pleasanton attracted the Stoneridge Mall, the Hacienda Business Park and several residential developments, all of which helped shape the local landscape.

Ken Mercer is credited with raising millions of dollars for ValleyCare Health System, with which he served in various capacities. (ValleyCare Health
Ken Mercer is credited with raising millions of dollars for ValleyCare Health System, with which he served in various capacities. (ValleyCare Health System)

Friends called him an affable man who had strong feelings about attracting a mix of new businesses and homes to put the city on firm financial footing with a strong tax base.

"He was well liked in the community," said Frank Brandes, who served on the Pleasanton council with Mercer for many years. "Ken did a lot of things at a time when a lot of things were happening in Pleasanton."

Outside of his elected office, Mercer worked in a variety of community and government relations jobs, including many years with Pacific Telephone and most recently as ValleyCare Health System vice president of government relations.

As a weekend job for many years, Mercer used to leave his business suits at home and paint homes.


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"He just loved to paint homes," Brandes said. "It was good for him, and he did a good job of it. He painted my house."

Mercer was elected to three terms on the City Council between 1976 and 1986. He then won the city's first city contest for directly elected mayor in 1986. Before then, the mayoral post had been rotated among council members.

A celebration of Mercer's life will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25 at the Pleasanton Senior Center, 5353 Sunol Blvd., Pleasanton.

Meanwhile, a memorial service for another former Pleasanton council member, Karin Marcia Mohr, will be held at 2 p.m. Jan. 26 at the Pleasanton Senior Center, 5353 Sunol Blvd. She died Nov. 11 from injuries suffered in a fall.

Contact Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267. Follow him at Twitter.com/deniscuff.

ken mercer
Born: Sept. 2, 1942, Vancouver, Canada
Died: Jan. 14, 2014, Pleasanton
Survivors: Daughter Shelley Despotakis of Livermore and son Chuck Mercer of Pleasanton
Services: A celebration of life will be held 1 p.m. Jan. 25 at the Pleasanton Senior Center, 5353 Sunol Blvd., Pleasanton.
Donations: ValleyCare Charitable Foundation, 1111 E. Stanley Blvd., Livermore 94550; Hope Hospice, 6377 Clark Ave. Suite 100, Dublin 94568