CAPE CORAL, FL — It was an early morning shock many of us woke up to, news that Cape Coral's Mayor Joe Coviello had died.
"He loved Cape Coral," said Elmer Taber, a longtime Cape Coral resident, and Cape Coral Rotary Club member.
"What does it mean to lose him? I don't think I'm quite there yet to identify that yet," said Captain Dru DiMattia, another Cape Coral Rotary Club member.
Those in the community who knew and worked with Coviello say he was fun.
"Natural leaders, outgoing, always smiling," said former Cape Coral Mayor Joe Mazurkiewicz.
And add that he had a soft spot for our servicemen and women.
"He spoke of his two sons who went to the king's point merchant marine academy up in New York," said DiMattia.
The group tells FOX 4 that Coviello's death marks a life and leadership role, cut too short.
"The responsibility of being mayor is that you embrace your whole community. When you do it well the community embraces back, and I think mayor joe was starting to get that embracing back from the community," said Mazurkiewicz.
But they say Coviello didn't leave without a trace.
One friend and former mayor says he leaves behind key changes to our community.
"First of all the passing of the general obligation bond to redo all the parks. There's only been three general obligation bonds passed in the history of the city of Cape Coral," said Mazurkiewicz, "Settling the franchise agreement with LCEC that lingered for 18 months."
But ever the achiever, they say he was always looking for the next improvement.
As evidenced in his last "Mayor's Message" where he promised to "fight for water quality" and grow the local economy.
"He looked for the future, he looked to solve the future problems instead of changing the past," said Taber.
We're still waiting on details from the city on funeral arrangements for Mayor Coviello and if any memorials or services are being planned for the public.