John Engen, Missoula native and the city's longest serving mayor, died Monday of pancreatic cancer. He was 57. Engen, born and raised in Missoula, came to politics after working in journalism and advertising. He ran for mayor in 2005 after one term on the City Council, and won. He was re-elected four more times.
Mayor Engen, was remembered by many for his generosity and kindness. Susan Hay Patrick, CEO of United Way said Engen "exemplified caring for community...as a giver, a volunteer and an advocate." Former Governor Steve Bullock said, "he dedicated his life to serving the town where he was born and raised." Engen will be remembered at a public memorial probably this weekend. The Missoula City Council held a news conference Monday, announcing that council president, Gwen Jones, had been sworn in as acting mayor. Council will take applications for Engen's replacement for 10 days starting today. The council must interview and vote to appoint a new mayor within 30 days of the vacancy under the city's rules.
John Engen, Missoula's longest serving mayor, was elected to 5 four-year terms and served over 6 years longer than any previous Missoula mayor.
The second longest serving mayor was Dwight Mason who was elected in 1937 and served until 1947.
Third was Mike Kadas. He was appointed to replace Dan Kemmis and then elected to two more terms, serving just over 9 years.
John Patterson was the city's shortest serving mayor who was Acting Mayor for just one week.