DIAMONDHEAD, Miss. (WLOX) - Diamondhead Mayor Tommy Schafer, 53, died Friday following complications from surgery on July 21. He had been hospitalized in serious condition for the last 10 days.
Mayor Schafer leaves behind his wife, Camille, and one daughter, Caroline.
Schafer holds the honor of being Diamondhead’s first mayor, having been elected in 2013 after the community incorporated. He was re-elected for a second term in 2017.
“Tommy was committed to the betterment of all residents of Diamondhead and loved serving his community,” Diamondhead City Manager Michael Reso said. “He was a tireless advocate for the city and his dedication and leadership will be greatly missed.”
In a statement, Reso asked that everyone respect the family’s privacy and to keep them in your prayers during this difficult time.
Jeff Jassby was one of Schafer’s best friends and a close family friend. He remembers Tommy Schafer as a tireless advocate for the Diamondhead community.
“I thought he was a great asset to our community, and he accomplished much for Diamondhead,” Jassby said. “Also, he was a great family man, and he was my close friend. He will be deeply missed by many, and please say prayers for Camille and Caroline.”
Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes offered his sympathy in a statement, saying, “It is with great sorrow that we offer our deepest condolences to the family of Diamondhead Mayor Tommy Schafer. Tommy was a fast friend and reliable colleague. His welcoming personality and upbeat approach in providing leadership to his community endeared him to many. Gone too soon, he will be missed on both a personal and professional level. May God rest his soul and bring peace and comfort to his family and friends.”
Other local leaders said they saw Schafer as a role model.
Hancock County District 3 Supervisor Kodie Koenenn said, “He always saw positivity in government and wanted to make change. Him and I shared those values when I first got elected [to the Diamondhead City Council] and even so on as I served on the board of supervisors. "
They also say he paved the way for a better Diamondback, making significant progress to help improve the lives of his citizens.
“He understood how government needed to work. And he put those skills, his education and his background in the private sector, to work,” Tish Williams, Executive Director of Hancock County Chamber of Commerce, said.