HOWLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – Trumbull County Commissioner Paul Heltzel died Monday morning at his residence in Howland after a long battle with cancer.
Heltzel, 69, went to Gilmour Academy in Gates Mills, Ohio for high school and graduated from John Carroll University.
He served as commissioner for the past 10 years and was in the middle of his third term. He was first elected in 2004 and was re-elected in 2008 and 2012.
Heltzel played a key role in helping to revamp the county’s 911 system.
Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins hired Heltzel in 1984. Heltzel has since worked as chairman of the Trumbull County Bar Association Computer Committee, Trumbull County Bar Grievance Committee, former treasurer for the Trumbull County Democratic Party, Trumbull County precinct committeeman and former executive committee member.
State Rep. Sean O’Brien, D-Bazetta, said he learned about Heltzel’s death on his drive back from Dayton. He said the news difficult to hear.
“It’s going to be a blow to our community. Here is somebody who really worked hard and was involved, and I think that is Paul. And that is his life and I think we are all better off for knowing him. He will be sadly missed,” O’Brien said.
People across the entire area were sad to hear the news, including Mahoning County Commissioner David Ditzler.
“My heart goes out to Paul Heltzel and his family and friends and Trumbull County as a whole. He was phenomenal, not only for Trumbull County, but the entire Valley,” Ditzler said.
Heltzel’s current term does not end until January 2017, so the Trumbull County Democratic Party will have five to 45 days to select a successor until the November election when an election would be held for the remainder of his term.
Democrats and Republicans have until Aug. 11 to file to be the November ballot. Independent candidates have 10 days from the beginning of the vacancy to file a nominating petition.
Heltzel is survived by his wife and four sons.