The Village of Oblong lost a valued trustee and resident during the weekend. Donald "Rick" Houdasheldt, 55, died at 11:30 a.m. Saturday of an apparent heart attack.
Houdasheldt was a local contractor and business owner who had previously served as village trustee from 1985 to 1989. He was elected to the board in 2005 and was running unopposed for a third consecutive term in this election. The trustees will appoint someone to a two-year term for his seat on the board.
"We are struggling to get our arms around it," said friend and fellow trustee Rick Catt. "This is a severe blow to the community and a terrible loss."
During his first term as trustee Houdasheldt was instrumental in purchasing the first new police car. Before then, the village had only bought used cars. He worked diligently on the Route 33 project, specifically on the downtown area. Before becoming a trustee and in between his terms, he volunteered on numerous village projects.
Catt said Houdasheldt's previous service on the board gave insight into past decisions. "He spent a large part of his life making Oblong better," Catt said. "He thought things through. We will miss his input on the board and his friendship."
Oblong Mayor Randy Rich was challenged for words on the passing of his friend, but did say he would be missed.
Funeral arrangements are pending for Houdasheldt at Pulliam Funeral Home, Oblong.
The Village of Oblong Board meeting scheduled for Wednesday, April 3, has been postponed to Wednesday, April 10.