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Gilbert "Gib" Marguth.

LIVERMORE -- Gilbert "Gib" R. Marguth, a former California assemblyman for the 15th District, died in Livermore on Friday after a nine-year battle with leukemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

He was 77.

The Livermore native is survived by his wife of 57 years, Marjorie, and three children, Nancy, Karen and David.

Marguth, who was born in Portland, Ore., was known for his work as an assemblyman, but his family and closest friends remember a father with a strong bond to his community and his loyalty.

Karen Marguth, 50, said her father believed success was a dynamic aspect of life.

"He was always involved in the community," Karen said. "That was part of his definition of success, what you did to give back to your community."

The middle of three children, Karen said she will always remember her father's intelligence.

"This was before you could look things up on the Internet, but we called him the walking Google search engine," Karen said. "We could literally ask him anything when we were younger and he would have the answer for us."

Marguth graduated from Oregon State University in 1960 and eventually moved to Livermore, where he would begin to cement his political roots.

After tenures at multiple labs including Sandia National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Marguth began working in the Livermore community.

He began as a member of the Livermore Elementary School District Board from 1964 to 1966. He served on the City Council for the next four years and was mayor for two.

Milo Nordyke, 81, considered Marguth to be his best friend after the two met at a local church function more than 50 years ago.

"Gib was creative, friendly and easy to get to know," Nordyke said. "He was a born leader and it's going to be hard to imagine being without him."

Nordyke was a councilmember for six years before Marguth began his tenure on the council in 1966.

"Everywhere that I've been so far, when people hear that he passed, a sigh leaves the room," Nordyke said. "He was active in the church and the community and a lot of people knew him."

Marguth's son, David, 43, remembers his father for everything outside of the realm of politics.

"While I never noticed him wearing a cape, this man was somehow everywhere and he pulled it off as possibly the slowest driver in the history of motor vehicles," David Marguth said. "I can clearly remember playing in soccer games as a kid and he would show up just as the game started, running from his car in his suit, only to leave right after the game to get to a Zone 7 board meeting."

In 1980, Marguth was elected to the Assembly, representing the 15th District as a Republican, serving a single term before being appointed deputy superintendent of public instruction for the state of California.

"My dad was not your average politician. He truly was elected by the people for the people. He often voted, as the say, 'across the aisle,' supporting bills that he believed were right regardless of which side of the yard the idea came from," David said. "At the end of the day, he loved this valley and loved this city, and genuinely wanted to make it a better place."