Ex-GV Mayor Hullender dies
Former Grass Valley Mayor Bill Hullender’s engineering career took him from Manhattan to San Francisco, and from Canada to Texas.
But Hullender, who died Friday at his home in Grass Valley at 78 after a long battle with cancer, always wanted to come back to Grass Valley. It?s the town where he had met his wife, Virginia, during the Great Depression, where he had pumped gas as a teen, graduated from high school, and made Eagle Scout.
“He always felt he wanted to come back,” his daughter, Sharon Mackie, said Friday.
Hullender was the son of a shift boss at Banner Lava Cap Mine who had studied engineering at Stanford University; his wife was the daughter of a superintendent for Grass Valley’s elementary schools. The Hulllenders settled in Grass Valley after his retirement as a Bechtel Corp. engineer in 1985.
Hullender entered politics in July 1985 as a member of the Grass Valley Planning Commission. Elected to the City Council four years later, he served as mayor twice, in 1993-1994 and in 1999-2000.
He took his duties very, very seriously, said Mackie. She recalled the graphs and charts her father kept at home.
“He really studied,” she said. “I admired his advocation.”
Hullender, who lost for re-election in 2000, was never interested in running for higher office.
“It just never entered my mind,” Hullender said in December 2000. “I was very happy with the things I was doing for the city.”
Current Mayor Linda Stevens said Hullender occasionally reminded her that as mayor, she spoke on behalf of the entire City Council.
“Bill was the ultimate gentleman,” said Stevens, who met him in 1993. “He truly cared about the community.”
Stevens, who lives next to the Hullenders, said Bill Hullender became her mentor and a substitute father.
During his tenure as mayor, City Hall was renovated, the city initiated the expansion of its wastewater treatment plant, downtown Main Street was improved, and a fire station was built on Sierra College Drive.
Hullender is also survived by his son, Stephen Hullender; and grandson, Michael Mackie, both of whom live in Arizona.
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