G. Delwin Hervey, 93, a former mayor and judge in the City of Tonawanda, died Thursday (Sept. 16, 1999) in DeGraff Memorial Hospital, North Tonawanda.
A lifelong resident of the city, he was mayor from 1978 to 1981 after serving as a Tonawanda City Court judge from 1968 to 1977. He practiced law until his recent illness.
In March 1998, Hervey was presented the G.F. Hixson Fellowship Award for lifelong contributions to the Kiwanis Club.
After graduating in 1924 from Tonawanda High School, he earned a bachelor's degree in business administration and a law degree from the University of Buffalo. He began work as a law clerk in 1931 but in 1936 returned to work full time for the U.S. Post Office in Buffalo, where had worked part time while in law school.
During World War II, Hervey served in the Middle East with the Army, rising to the rank of captain, and later became a major in the Army Reserve. He served in the Military Police and with the Transportation Corps.
In 1946, he joined the Veterans Administration, doing legal work for the agency until opening his private practice in 1965.
Hervey was the first director of relocation of Tonawanda's Urban Renewal Agency, helping businesses find new sites and helping families that were forced to move for urban renewal.
A Republican, he was appointed to the City Court bench in late 1967 and, with the endorsement of all four major political parties, was elected to three terms. He left the bench upon turning 70 in 1977.
While soft-spoken and mild-mannered on and off the bench, Hervey was known for toughness toward drunken drivers long before it became popular. A Buffalo News series cited his "almost astronomical" record of sending 29 percent of guilty DWI defendants to prison. He also was outspoken about the breakdown in church attendance as a cause of crime.
A member of Grove Street Christian Church for more than 90 years, Hervey served as a Sunday school teacher, Sunday school superintendent, deacon, elder and chairman of the board.
As mayor, Hervey saw a resurgence in downtown business, the start of development of the city's riverfront and opening of a senior citizens center in the renovated Salvation Army building. He served on the Salvation Army board for nearly 30 years.
Defeated for re-election in 1981, he attempted a political comeback in 1983 as an independent but lost the mayoral race.
A member of the Tonawanda Kiwanis Club, he also was honored with the Masonic Distinguished Service Award for his service to the Masonic community. He was a member of Tonawanda Lodge 247, F&AM, for more than 55 years and was a member of the Buffalo Consistory, Ismailia Shrine Temple and the Tonawanda-Grand Island Shrine Club.
Hervey was named Citizen of the Year in 1993 by the Chamber of Commerce of the Tonawandas.
Survivors include his wife, the former Virginia Dunker.
A memorial service will be held at 2:30 p.m. Sunday in Grove Street Church, 85 Grove St. Private burial will be in Elmlawn Cemetery, Town of Tonawanda.