Wayne Womack

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Template:Infobox Mayor

Wayne Womack (January 18, 1929 – December 2, 2014) was an American politician and real estate agent who became the first Mayor of Novato, California, upon the city's incorporation in 1960.[1] Womack served as Novato's mayor for two two-year tenures: 1960 until 1962 and again from 1966 to 1968.[1][2] He remained a member of the Novato City Council until 1972.[1] He also served as the President of the Marin Association of Realtors in 1972 and the chairman of the board for Novato Community Hospital.[1]

Biography

Early life

Womack was born in Madill, Oklahoma, on January 18, 1929.[3] He was the middle child of his parents' five children.[3] The family moved from Oklahoma to southern California in the spring of 1939 in the aftermath of a poor 1937 crop yield from their farm during the Dust Bowl.[3] Womach married his wife, Colleen, in 1948.[1]

Career

Womack and his family moved to Novato, California, in 1951 where he began his career as a banker.[1] He initially worked as a manager at the First National Bank, located at Grant and Machin avenues in downtown Novato.[1] Womack then headed the credit department for the local Pini Hardware store. He opened Womack's Variety Store, located in the Town & Country shopping center on Grant Avenue, in 1957.[1][2]

He joined the Novato Rotary Club in 1956, and remained active for 58 years, including a tenure as the chapter's president in 1972.[1] In 1968, he founded and opened Womack Realty, which he operated until his retirement in 1995.[1]

Political career

In 1960, Wayne Womack, who had no political experience up to this point, ran for the newly formed Novato City Council.[2] He won the election as the top vote-getter out of a group of 27 candidates for city council.[1] When Novato was incorporated in 1960, Womack was elected as the city's first mayor by the city council during the council's inaugural meeting.[1] Womack, who was 31 years old in 1960, became the youngest mayor in the state of California at the time.[2] Bob Lagle served as Novato's first city planning director alongside Womack.[2]

Womack also served as the president of the Novato Chamber of Commerce in 1960.[1][2]

Womack served as Novato's first mayor from 1960 to 1962. He declined to seek re-election to the city council in 1962 after two years as mayor.[1] Instead, Womack chose to run for Marin County Supervisor.[1] However, Womack was defeated by incumbent county supervisor Bill Gnoss.[1] Womack returned to city politics and won re-elected to the Novato City Council in 1964.[1] He served as a second tenure as Mayor of Novato from 1966 to 1968.[1] He retired from the city council in 1972.[1]

In 2010, Womack expressed some regret concerning some of Novato's planning and building decisions, both during his era as an elected official and afterwards.[2] A number of shopping centers have been constructed throughout Novato, but this trend hurt the formation of a dense, downtown shopping district.[2] He also recalled that one of Novato's master plans from the late 1960s proved to be incorrect.[2] The 1960s study incorrectly predicted that the San Marin, CaliforniaSan Marin section of Novato would eventually become a separate municipality, while Novato's population would rise to 175,000 people (By contrast, Novato's population was slightly more than 52,000 people by the city's 50th anniversary in 2010).[2]

He became President of the Marin Association of Realtors in 1976. In 1980, Womack was honored as Novato Citizen of the Year.[1]

Former Mayor Womack attended the city's 50th anniversary celebration on January 20, 2010, to mark the establishment of Novato.[2] He and other dignitaries were honored by the Novato City Council.[2] In a 2010 interview marking Novato's 50th anniversary, councilwoman and then-Mayor Jeanne MacLeamy called Womack, "...the perfect first mayor...He is remembered as a respected and well-liked leader by ... many Novato residents."[1]

During the 2000s, Womack divided his time between his home, located near the Marin Country Club in Ignacio, California, and his condo in Maui, where he and his wife resided for 4 to 5 months per year.[2] Wayne Womack died from pneumonia at a hospital on December 2, 2014, at the age of 85.[1] He was survived by five children - Craig Womack, Matthew Womack, Diane Michaelis, Elaine Womack, and Jennifer Kelley; eight grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.[1] His wife of 48 years, Colleen Womack, died on October 21, 2014.

References