(New Buffalo, MI) - A New Buffalo official's death was especially hard for a former city council member who previously lost three other friends to COVID-19.
Bob Spirito was choked with emotion as a procession carrying the body of former City Manager Dave Richards veered around City Hall during the afternoon on Monday. Richards was hired by the New Buffalo City Council in 2017 when Spirito was a member of the governing body. Spirito lost his bid for another term in the November 3 election.
He was among two dozen people who paid their respects as the procession went by City Hall on Smith Street before heading to a crematory near Benton Harbor.
“He was a great man. I’m going to miss him,” Spirito said.
Spirito said Richards did an excellent job and will be remembered mostly for Whittaker Street's improvements in New Buffalo. The upgrades giving the downtown a fresh new look included replacing very old water and sewer pipes, repaving Whittaker Street, and adding things like old-fashioned street lamps, angled parking, and park benches.
The death weighed even more heavily on Spirito because of having friends about Richards’ age already die from the virus. “It’s hard. I’ve had three other people die from this virus. That’s all I can say,” Spirito said.
New Buffalo Police Chief and Interim City Manager Rich Killips and several other city employees tested positive for the virus at Richards’ diagnosis. All of them have since fully recovered, he said.
City Hall was closed for a period of time and has since reopened to the public by appointment only.