Friends and colleagues Wednesday were remembering Ron Deaton, a longtime Los Angeles city employee and former adviser to the City Council, who died on Tuesday at age 77.

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer called Deaton “one of the great problem-solvers in L.A. history.”

“He was incredibly smart and effective, full of integrity and deeply committed to the people and institutions of Los Angeles,” Feuer wrote on Twitter. “It was a privilege to work alongside him when I served on the City Council. He taught me a lot, helped me often, and made me a better public servant.”

Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore said in a Twitter post that Deaton “was a critical part of saving City Hall” and called him a “shining example of what one person determined to make a difference is capable of accomplishing.”

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, former Los Angeles City Council president, said Deaton “was one of a kind.”

“He had as much love for the #CityofLA as he had knowledge for how things got done,” Padilla wrote on Twitter. “He was a huge resource for me while (on) City Council & as Council President. I will forever be grateful.”

Deaton died at his home in Ensenada, Mexico, after a prolonged illness, his son David Deaton told the Los Angeles Times.

Deaton began his career as an administrative assistant at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power after graduating from Long Beach State in 1965. While at the DWP, he earned his MBA from the University of Southern California.

He then transferred into the Chief Legislative Analyst’s office, where he worked for eight years, working his way to become the Chief Legislative Analyst for the City Council in 1993.

Deaton returned to the DWP to be the general manager in 2004, but retired in October 2007 after being on leave with severe cardiac arrhythmia that left him in a coma for two days.

“After 42 years of service to the people of the city of angels, this is a decision that I do not make lightly,” he wrote to the City Council at the time.

Deaton was sometimes referred to as the “16th Council member,” according to the Times, as he negotiated the terms of federal oversight of the LAPD and helped craft the deal points for financing Staples Center.

He also pushed for the $300 million seismic retrofit and restoration of City Hall, despite objections that the project was too expensive.

“From his first day on the job at the age of 22, this is a man who literally did it all for Angelenos,” then-Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said at the time. “He kept the lights on through fires and blackouts. He balanced the books. He helped build parks, police stations and libraries. He kept us united as one city.”

Deaton is survived by his wife, Ellery, sons David and Daniel, daughters Deidre Davis and Dara Loftis, 12 grandchildren and brother Gary.

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