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Mourning a mover and shaker

Just 16 days after his renowned older brother Joe died of a heart attack at 70, Bremerton’s former mayor and exuberant visionary Louis Mentor died in a Seattle hospital Thursday Sept. 17, after suffering a brain aneurism.

He was 65 years old.

On the day of his death, news spread rapidly throughout the coffee shops, stores and government offices of his most popular stomping ground, downtown Bremerton.

“We have had a ton of calls from employees, all asking about Louis,” Mayor Cary Bozeman said yesterday. “People are pretty much in shock over there.”

Mentor was mayor of Bremerton from 1990 to 1994. He is credited with spearheading the redevelopment of downtown Bremerton, and his boardwalk project was the first major installation to bring the dream to reality.

“He had that one trait that we all wish we had,” said Mentor’s friend of 40 years, John Law. “He was a hard worker. He turned that energy into working for the city. He would charge ahead with conviction.”

Law said he would regularly see Mentor in the mayor’s office before 8 a.m. every day, getting a jump on the day. At night, he would regularly be one of the last employees to leave the building.

Additionally, both as mayor and after his term, Mentor participated on numerous boards and foundations and worked tirelessly to improve the look of the city.

Sometimes that even meant sweeping the sidewalks himself, as he did with his wife Paulette every Saturday.

“He went to every social function he was invited to, which doesn’t always happen,” said City Council Member Wayne Olsen. Olsen met Mentor when he and his brother were building the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel and Conference Center off Kitsap Way.

“He never stopped being the mayor,” said Law.

Adds friend and business associate Cap DeMiero, “He was just a real creative kind of guy. A skilled artisan who would play at a party as hard as he worked.”

Mentor is survived by his two children Mitch, 45, and Kraig, 42, and his wife of eighteen years, Paulette.

Mentor jointly celebrated his 65th and his brother Joe’s 70th birthday with a large contingent of family and friends on Aug. 25.

Olsen attended and described the party as very upbeat.

“Both of them looked like a million bucks,” he said. “They were just elated. Joe was running around with his wine bottles making sure everyone’s glasses were filled. There were probably 300 people there.”

On Thursday, Mentor’s friends placed a memorial to him on the Bremerton boardwalk next to the statue of the propeller. The memorial includes Mentor’s picture and a place to drop flowers.

His wife visited the site at about 2 p.m.

“He started young volunteering,” she said. “He never met a charity he didn’t like. He never turned anyone down. Sometimes he would go to three events in a night. We would eat salad at one place, dinner at another place, and dessert at some place else.”

Just like his brother Joe, Louis had the Mentor optimism that was so apparent on both sunny or gray days.

“You would never call Louis and hear that it was raining or storming,” said his son Mitch. “It was always ‘beautiful today in Bremerton.’ ”

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