MARLIN, Texas — People in Marlin and across Falls County are mourning the death of former Marlin Mayor John Keefer.
Paramedics found the businessman and entrepreneur dead at his home in Marlin Sunday afternoon, after a family member called police to ask for a "welfare check," according to Marlin's current city manager.
Since leaving the mayor's office, Keefer had become a sort of "business incubator."
Operating out of his insurance office on the town's main street, Keefer owned small businesses like restaurants, one of the few local butcher and meat processing facilities in the region, and even opened a popular gym. Keefer's ownership of many businesses helped them gain solid footing in the community, and once they did, he would sell his interest and move on, to fill another of Marlin's business needs.
Born in Austin, Keefer, first came to Marlin in 2015 to visit a business he owned. He saw such potential in the area, he moved his family here. Keefer joined the Marlin Lion's club, the Marlin Men's Civic Association, and served on the board of the Falls County Samaritan House. He was on the board of the Marlin Athletic League and showed great pride when, the 2018 girls high school basketball team earned its first-ever place in the Texas State Championship game in San Antonio.
His term as Mayor had its share of what some have come to call "Typical Marlin Problems," after a police chief's resignation, Keefer came up with the idea of asking then-Falls County sheriff Ricky Scaman to take over temporarily.
Pushback from citizens and city council members who disliked Scaman, caused Keefer to shelve that idea. After a City Manager suggested in an open meeting that Marlin police needed to write more tickets to put more money into the city budget, Keefer asked for and got the man's resignation, running the city himself for a time.
And when contractor's bids came in way too high to renovate a building for use as the city's tourism office, Keefer came in and did the job for far less. That move saved the city a lot of money, but it also caused a stir among council members who demanded Keefer keep his business interests and the city's separate.
Keefer returned to his businesses full-time with the election of Carolyn Lofton as Marlin's new mayor in 2019. Marlin city manager Cedric Davis, says the city is, "planning an appropriate tribute to former mayor Keefer," and will announce plans as soon as plans are complete.
Little is known about funeral arrangements at this time. Keefer is survived by his wife of 19 years and his 13-year-old daughter.