Former Corte Madera mayor Vaso Runyan Medigovich took his own life after killing his wife in what family members called "a final act of love."
The couple were found dead in their Los Angeles home May 29, according to Los Angeles police. Mr. Medigovich, who had moved to Los Angeles with his wife in 2012 to be closer to their daughters, was 73. Meredythe Crawford Medigovich was 65.
Mr. Medigovich died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and Mrs. Medigovich died of asphyxiation, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office. Detectives with the Los Angeles Police Department's West Bureau Homicide Unit said the case will be closed as there is no one to hold accountable for Mrs. Medigovich's death.
The couple's family said Mrs. Medigovich struggled for many years with Alzheimer's disease.
"We understand and respect our parents' carefully-considered decision as a final act of love for all of us in the face of Meredythe's decade-long battle with Alzheimer's, and as a reflection of their fierce belief in dignity and the right to individual choice in end-of-life care. We love them deeply. Their courage and their love for each other is an inspiration to us," the family said in a prepared statement.
Mr. Medigovich spent his life working to improve Corte Madera; he founded the town's Flood Control Committee and was named the town's "Citizen of the Year" in 2006.
A veteran civic activist, Mr. Medigovich served eight years on the Town Council before retiring in 1995. He was appointed mayor for 1992 and 1993. He founded and served on the town's Flood Control Committee for 30 years, was actively involved in the town's beautification program, helped fund the new patio at the Corte Madera Community Center and helped develop Town Park Plaza.
Jana Haehl, former mayor of Corte Madera and a 51-year resident, said Mr. Medigovich was a giving person who was always up for helping his community. He spent many years volunteering to put up and take down yard signs for every candidate or ballot measure when it was election time.
"Vaso was always willing to help someone do something, and he'd gladly replace the battery in your ceiling smoke detector, repair your screen door, take your heavy boxes of books to the secondhand bookstore, hook up the new flat screen television you just bought, and all kinds of other kindnesses that we older people especially appreciated," Haehl said.
Town Manager David Bracken said he first became acquainted with Mr. Medigovich when he was hired by the town as an engineer and Mr. Medigovich was on the Flood Control Committee.
"He lived here through the 1982 floods and was extremely knowledgeable and helped me become knowledgeable of the town's flood control system when I started working here," Bracken said. "His concern about the well-being of the town was more than anybody could hope for."
Mr. Medigovich was born May 3, 1941, in Ohio. He graduated from Millbrook High School in New York and joined the U.S. Army in 1962. He studied German at the Defense Language institute in Monterey and was subsequently stationed in Berlin, Germany.
After leaving the service in 1965, he attended college at the University of Michigan and received a bachelor's degree and master's degree in mechanical engineering. In 1940 he received a master of business administration degree from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in Palo Alto.
Mr. Medigovich moved to Marin in 1983 after living in San Francisco for eight years, where he worked for various technology firms. He married Meredythe Medigovich in 1984. While living in Marin, he worked as a self-employed investor and business consultant.
Mrs. Medigovich worked for various nonprofit agencies including the Marine Mammal Center and a San Rafael group that ran a residential treatment program for young autistic adults, according to newspaper archives.
The couple is survived by their three daughters. A celebration of life ceremony will be held for the pair at 2 p.m. Sept. 20 at the Corte Madera Community Center, 498 Tamalpais Drive. The family requests donations be made in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Medigovich to the Corte Madera Community Foundation at www.cortemaderacommunityfoundation.org.
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