IOWA CITY – Oxford Mayor Don Saxton is stepping down from city government at the end of this month after 44 years of service.
On Thursday, he received a goodbye from the Johnson County Board of Supervisors, which recognized him with a resolution of appreciation.
“I’ve never heard a bad word about you, and you’ve been in office 44 years,” Supervisor Rod Sullivan told Saxton.
Oxford is in western Johnson County and has about 800 residents.
Saxton, 74, said he was appointed to the City Council in 1967. After six years, he was elected mayor. He spent 38 years as mayor, with a couple of brief breaks in that time.
“There are things and people that I will miss. There are things I won’t,” Saxton said to laughs. “But as I said, overall, it’s been a good ride.”
Saxton has spent much of his adult life in public service. In addition to his city work, he was a teacher in the Iowa City Community School District for 37 years, with 31 of those at West High School.
He has been chairman of Johnson County’s Emergency Management Commission for so long that he was at the helm for at least 17 of the county’s 23 presidential disaster declarations, said Dave Wilson, the county’s emergency management coordinator. It may be more, but records from some years are spotty, he said.
“You’ve done a lot out there in Oxford,” Supervisor Pat Harney said. “I think people appreciate what you’ve done. We have.”
Saxton accepted the praise with humility and humor.
“Thank you,” he said. “I’m sugar coated.”