The Royal City has lost one of its long-serving leaders.

Norm Jary, a former mayor of Guelph, passed away Friday night at the age of 91 at the Guelph Community Health Centre.

Jary's son Norm Jary Jr. says his father was battling a form of blood cancer for the past year, but he was able to say goodbye to him via FaceTime.

"He was ready to go peacefully," said Jary Jr. "We loved him and miss him and thak you for the life that you gave us."

It is with great sadness that #Guelph has learned of the passing of former Mayor Norm Jary. Commonly referred to as “The Voice of the People.” Our community sends our love & condolences to the family & friends, yet at the same time acknowledge his great impact & achievements!

— Mayor Cam Guthrie (@CamGuthrie) January 10, 2021

"I looked up to him," said current Guelph mayor Cam Guthrie. "I would consider him a mentor.

"Engaging and lifting people up in the communit is the real legacy that he will be remembered for."

Jary was a city councilor for 37 years and served as mayor from 1970 to 1985.

He had a long career in local radio and was also a play-by-play announcer for the New York Rangers and Guelph junior hockey.

Retired CTV National News anchor Lloyd Robertson remembers when he and Jary worked together at a Stratford radio station.

"I can credit Norm with getting me started in broadcasting because he gave me my very first show," he said. "I was just a kid, 18 years old."

Robertson says he was a very kind man who you could always count on, while current Guelph city councillor Cathy Downer says his passing reminds her of a better time in politics.

"He never swore," said Jary. Jr. "Never in my lifetime heard him swear."

Jary's family says there will be a private funeral once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

Guthrie adds that Jary was "The People's Mayor" and never saw himself as a politician, but instead a public servant by playing an active role in the area throughout his life.

The Norm Jary Golf Tournament has raised nearly a million dollars for those with intellectual disabilities in the community.

Guthrie says that city flags will be at half-mast in his honour.