‘Louie Louie’ — a town says goodbye

It wasn’t just the famous, half-screamed, half-sung Richard Berry song “Louie Louie” that made former Mayor Louie Mentor bop his head and sing along — he was a man who simply loved music.

Rock and roll to be exact.

At a memorial at the Bremerton Boardwalk on Monday afternoon to celebrate his life, it was only fitting that a band played fast-paced classic rock songs to remind people of the shaking and shaping he did to Bremerton during his tenure as mayor.

In a strange set of circumstances, the 65-year-old Mentor died last week, just 16 days after his 70-year-old brother Joe died of a heart attack.

At the memorial, about 350 city employees and community members traded stories of his life, such as the wild shouting matches Mentor would engage in with the city planning department. Some wrote notes in a memory album, some left flowers near a memorial statue, while others shared hugs and shed tears.

“He would come to work earlier than me every day,” said Elaine Valencia, secretary for Mentor when he was Mayor from 1990-1994.

“He would almost always be listening to rock and roll music, and sometimes very loud,” she said.

Valencia could hear the crashing drums or guitar solos immediately when she opened the door. Sometimes the mustachioed man would sing along as well.

Working with him 40 hours a week, Valencia garnered a crisp sense of his persona.

Another at the memorial was long time friend Martin Hoover. He owned Hoover Oldsmobile and Cadillac, and sold Mentor a Oldsmobile Cutluss Supreme about 20 years ago.

“Over the years I knew him I never heard him say something bad about anybody. He really believed if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all.”

Throughout the ceremony, people handed out round Louie Louie stickers, and guests applied them to their shirt fronts.

Mentor’s sons Mitch and Craig took the mic for a moment to thank the crowd for their support.

Mitch Mentor, Loius son, lives in Florida and owns a film company. He often does promotional and advertising videos.

Craig lives in Corte Madera, Calif. He works for a company called Macromedia as a computer programer.

“That was really cool,” said Mitch Mentor of the memorial. “What caught me the most was having people I didn’t know, perfect strangers come up to me and tell me these things he did to help them.”

He noticed many people walking up to the memorial album and jotting down a message, and then walking from the table while tears rolled down their cheeks.

“It reminds you that whatever you do, you can make a big impact,” Mitch said. “Just by living your life you can do great things.”

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