"Paul Mattila, Shelby County Trustee, died, at the age of 65, as a result of a long and valiant battle with lung cancer on September 4, 2009."
That is the sad news that was communicated early Friday evening by Debra Gates, who served with Mattila as his deputy and now becomes acting Trustee.
Mattila, a longtime employee of the Trustee's office under the late Trustee Bob Patterson, was elected to succeed Patterson in a special election in 2008. He was diagnosed with cancer sortly thereafter.
After having chemotherapy, Mattila seemed to rally and was planning to run for reelection in 2010
Following is the full press release from Gates announcing Mattila's passin:
Shelby County mourns passing of Trustee Paul Mattila
Paul Mattila, Shelby County Trustee, died, at the age of 65, as a result of a long and valiant battle with lung cancer on September 4, 2009.
“Mr. Mattila was truly honored to serve the taxpayers of Shelby County. Throughout the years he was especially dedicated to helping senior citizens receive benefits to reduce their rising tax burdens. At all times he was so proud of his employees and their ability to produce outstanding results even during uncertain economic times,” said Debra Gates, Deputy Trustee.
In 1997, Mr. Mattila joined the Trustee’s Office and began his public service career by talking with taxpayers one-on-one over the phone. Over the next twelve years, he embraced every aspect of the tax collection process and held the positions of supervisor, legislative liaison, and ultimately, Trustee.
Because he valued people and community relationships, he worked tirelessly in Shelby County and throughout the state to deliver exceptional service.
After being elected in August 2008, Trustee Mattila continued his focus to provide significant tax benefits to almost 10,000 senior citizens and disabled veterans.
“I have known Paul and Margaret for many years. Paul was a competent and dedicated public servant. He made a career of helping others with a warm smile and firm handshake. Not only is this a loss for Shelby County, but also for our state and nation,” said Congressman John Tanner (TN -08).
Mr. Mattila is survived by his wife Margaret, 4 children and 6 grandchildren.
Details on the services honoring his life will be forthcoming.
In accordance with state requirements, Trustee responsibilities immediately passed to Deputy Trustee Debra Gates..
No news as of yet on funeral arrangements.