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Merrillville mourns death of town council member

photo provided by town of Merrillville

A longtime Merrillville town council member has died. Donald Spann passed away suddenly Friday at his home, according to a town press release. He was 71. Spann represented Ward 1 for more than a decade, but was not seeking reelection this year.

Council member Margaret Uzelac remembered Spann for his "great personality." She'd given him the nickname “Dapper Don,” referring to the nice suits he typically wore. Uzelac also noted that he always came to meetings smiling and ready to tell jokes.

But Spann occasionally generated controversy. When he said, "We hate cops," as an apparent joke during a discussion on license plate readers last year, the head of the Indiana Fraternal Order of Police came to the next meeting, demanding an apology.