The Mayor of Panama, Okla. died Sunday (Jan. 19) after being hospitalized with pneumonia earlier in the week, according to Chief John Whiteaker with Panama Police.
Mayor Johnny Martin, 69, passed away Sunday at a hospital in Fort Smith, according to his obituary posted online.
“Johnny has served our city for over 20 years,” Whiteaker said. “He was a very good man and will definitely be missed by our community.”
Whiteaker said Martin has had cancer in the past.
“There’s going to be a big hole in our lives that no one can replace,” said Martin’s daughter, Patricia Weaver.
Martin was hospitalized in Fort Smith after he coming down with pneumonia over the past week, according to Whiteaker.
“The doctors found a spot on him when he got [to the hospital], and almost immediately placed him on a ventilator,” Whiteaker said. “It was just all very sudden.”
City offices in Panama are closed Monday for the holiday. Whiteaker said that until offices open tomorrow there are still unanswered questions about what’s next for the city.
“He’s been the mayor for at least 15 years,” Weaver said.
If Martin has served over half of his current term, Whiteaker said the city council has the power to appoint a new mayor. If not, Whiteaker said a special election will have to take place. However, those details are not available as Monday (Jan. 20).
Family and friends will hold a visitation for Martin Tuesday (Jan. 21) from 5 – 7 p.m. His funeral services will be held Wednesday morning (Jan. 22) at 10 a.m. at Panama’s Assembly of God.
Martin’s family said his term was set to end in April of 2015.