GRANDVIEW — Just a day after it was announced that Yakima County Commissioner Norm Childress, 62, of Grandview had been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, he died at his home surrounded by his family Tuesday morning, Sept. 15.
Monday afternoon, Sept. 14, the County Commission’s office issued a statement announcing that Childress, a first term commissioner, had been diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer, which was considered to be terminal. The disease was first detected a few weeks ago and he was in hospice care.
“This is such devastating news. Everything happened so fast, it hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Commissioner Vicki Baker said Tuesday morning. “Norm was a great mentor to me,” she fondly recalled.
“Norm was with his family, which is where he wanted to be,” Baker added. “He was an inspiration to his family, his community, and the County. He will be missed.”
“We are deeply saddened by the news,” Commissioner Ron Anderson conveyed. “Our prayers go out to his wife Sandy and the Childress family.”
“We lost a great man, commissioner, and Grandview mayor,” Grandview Mayor Gloria Mendoza said in a statement to the media. “He truly cared about this great city.”
Condolences also came from Sunnyside Mayor Francisco Guerrero. “I just heard,” he said early Tuesday morning. “This is so unsettling. We just learned he was suffered from pancreatic cancer and now this,” Guerrero remarked.
“It is sad they discovered the disease so late,” Guerrero added.
Recently retired Grandview Councilman Gaylord Brewer who served with Childress was also shaken by the news of his passing. “He really didn’t have time to fight the disease,” Brewer commented.
“While we weren’t always on the same side, he was always congenial about the outcomes. His heart for always on what was best for the city,” Brewer observed. “My prayers go out to the whole Childress family.”
Childress, who served as Grandview mayor from 2004-2018, was elected to Yakima County Commissioner District 3 in November 2018. He was a retired engineering services manager for Benton County, a position he held for 37 years.
An enthusiastic believer in public service, Childress was elected to the city council in 1992, where he served as councilman until 2004, when he was elected mayor. He served on numerous county governmental commissions and executive board such as the Yakima Valley Conference of Governments, the Office of Emergency Management Executive Board, the Groundwater Management Act Advisory Committee, in addition to having been appointed to the Supporting Investments in Economic development (SEID) board.
“Norm considered himself Grandview’s ‘best cheerleader’ because he believed in his council members, staff, and the great people of this community,” Grandview Mayor Mendoza explained.
“I want to thank the Childress family for sharing Norm with us and we pray that our Lord and Savior be with the family as they work through this very difficult time,” Mendoza expressed.
Childress is survived by his wife Sandy to whom he was married for 39 years, two children and one grandchild.