Beurt R. SerVaas, whose dynamic legacy includes 27 years as City-County Council president (and four decades as a council member), died Sunday at the age of 94.
"Indianapolis has lost one of its greatest champions and chief architect of its success," Mayor Greg Ballard said in a statement issued Monday.
Council President Maggie Lewis also weighed in: "Dr. SerVaas, often called 'the father of UniGov' forever changed the political and governing landscape with his introduction of a consolidation of Indianapolis and Marion County governments. ... We will forever be grateful for his leadership and vision that led to a fair and balanced political landscape for our city."
On Tuesday, NUVO Editor and Publisher Kevin McKinney noted that SerVaas was on the company's master list for a CVA lifetime achievement award. McKinney added that SerVaas attended the funeral of venerated NUVO editor emeritus Harrison J. Ullmann, writing "a moving letter afterwards," which, McKinney said, "says a lot about him."
An initial review of NUVO's historical archive unearthed bits of correspondence from SerVaas to NUVO editors over the years. Here is a sampling from Jan. 17, 2000:
"Somebody handed me your latest NUVO edition with a column by Brian A. Howey on 'politics.' I think I am going to enjoy Brian's column in the future because he dealt with facts which were quite accurate. I also read Harrison Ullmann's column concerning his very pertinent comments on St. Vincent Hospital... His columns are usually negative, but always with sarcastic humor, but, never the accuracy Mr. Howey likes ... I enjoyed both ... I sign this with the only 'title' I have in your periodical, a 'Rats [sic] Ass Republican.'
Cordially, Beurt SerVaas"