Friends, family and colleagues will pay their respects and celebrate the life of former Oakland Park Mayor Larry Gierer Friday afternoon.

Gierer died Saturday, July 2, succumbing to a long illness. He was 60.

“Personally, I appreciate and am thankful for Larry’s compassionate and dedicated service to the people of Oakland Park,” wrote sitting Oakland Park Mayor Tim Lonergan in an email to SFGN. “He will be greatly missed!”

First elected to the City Commission in 2001, Gierer served twice as Mayor until his public service was term limited in 2009. He is remembered for spearheading several projects, most notably a commitment to performing and cultural arts programs.

Layne Dallett Walls, who served with Gierer on the Oakland Park Commission, is organizing Friday’s celebration. Hours are from 4 to 7 p.m. at Jaco Pastorius Park, 1098, N.E. 40th Court, Oakland Park.

It was during Gierer’s tenure when the City of Oakland Park secured funding to acquire the land that is now Jaco Pastorius Park.

“The fruit we enjoy today is because of the firm seeds Larry planted,” Oakland Park Public Information Officer David Rafter said.

Gierer’s impact extended to public safety where he served on the United Way’s substance abuse committee and championed a single sale initiative. The initiative, Rafter said, was an effort to “curb underage drinking and eliminate driving under the influence.”

A gay man, Gierer withstood attacks about his sexuality from opponents to win elections.

“He was an early gay civil rights leader and public figure speaking out for our community and we should celebrate his courage and conviction, his passion and purpose,” said SFGN publisher Norm Kent.

Gierer was also remembered for his compassion in helping people living with AIDS.

“Larry was a good friend to PWAs and very supportive of the Poverello Center,” noted Andy Eddy, past board member of Poverello.

Gierer is survived by his spouse, Carlos Lobo, his mother in St. Louis and numerous siblings, nieces and nephews.