Herb Epp, who spent 13 years representing Waterloo at Queen’s Park and six more as the city’s mayor, died Monday at the age of 78.

Born in Winnipeg but raised in Ontario, Epp was first elected as a Waterloo alderman in 1968, following an unsuccessful run to represent Waterloo in the House of Commons.

By 1974, he found himself in the mayor’s chair – which he left three years later to pursue provincial politics.

He was a fixture as the MPP for Waterloo North for more than a decade, winning four straight elections under the Liberal banner.

In 2003, Epp was returned to City Hall by voters for a second term as mayor, nearly 30 years after he last sat in the chair.

Tributes from former political colleagues were quick to pour in.

“We’re going to miss Herb,” said Waterloo Region chair Ken Seiling.

“Herb had his pulse on the community and the region all the time. He always had a sage and wise opinion on things.”

Current Waterloo Mayor Brenda Halloran, who ended Epp’s political career by defeating him in Waterloo’s 2006 municipal election, said Epp dedicated his life to serving the community.

“We’re very saddened by the loss of Herb Epp in this community,” she told CTV.

“He was such an important part of Waterloo.”

His political career came to an end when he was defeated by incumbent mayor Brenda Halloran in the 2006 municipal election.

Outside of politics, Epp worked as a teacher and real estate agent. He was also well known for serving with a number of community groups, including the Rotary Club.

Flags at Waterloo City Hall were lowered to half-staff Tuesday in Epp’s honour, and a moment of silence was held at a Tuesday morning meeting of regional councillors.

Visitation will be held at the Erb & Good funeral home from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, and from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday.

A funeral will take place at 11 a.m. Friday at the Waterloo Mennonite Brethren church on Lexington Road.