Auburn councilwoman Jessie Duer, 71, died Saturday, March 9, 2013, in Navarre, Fla., where her daughter Olivia Duer Nelson lived.
Duer, who was serving in her second term on the council, battled cancer for years.
Duer took her council position very seriously and cared for the citizens of Auburn. She was instrumental in the completion of the Auburn Senior Center, donating funds to upgrade some of the fixtures in the center, which is scheduled to open this Sunday.
“She will be missed,” said Auburn Mayor Mike Hughes. “I think Jessie was a tremendous asset to the city of Auburn. She was a great councilperson and was very active. She was always known to be out in town on her golf cart looking for ways to help people. Help has been in her repertoire all her life. It’s a loss of a personal friend for me as well. She has been a great help to me on a personal level and on the council.”
Another great accomplishment Duer is noted for, was being one of Kentucky’s first female paramedics, as well as the first paramedic in Logan County. She was very instrumental in the Auburn Ambulance Service serving as its director and applying her skills to aide other ambulance services such as The Medical Center and the Butler and Hartford ambulance services.
“She was one of the first people we got to know when we moved here in the 1970s,” said former Auburn Mayor Dewey Roche. “Of course she didn’t get into politics until a few years ago, but she was always helping the people of Auburn. She is one of the people who got Auburn a good ambulance service. She was a very strong willed person and when she thought she was right, she followed through. She was always involved in everything good that went on in Auburn and always gave her time. She will be missed in the city.”
Duer attended as many council meetings as she could, but due to her illness, she spent much of the last year in the care of family members in Florida. She was preceded in death by her husband of 51 years, James Duer. Mr. Duer ran the Auburn Pharmacy before retiring. They have three children.
Funeral services for Mrs. Duer will be held Saturday, March 16 at 10 a.m. at Young Funeral Home Auburn Chapel. Burial will follow in the Auburn Cemetery. Visitation will begin at the funeral home Friday, March 15 from 4-7 p.m.
Mayor Hughes said he is not sure how the council will address Duer’s empty seat at this time.
“I want the council to determine how they want to handle this,” said Hughes.