Lifelong Jordan resident and former city mayor Ron Jabs died July 21 at age 68. He is remembered for his decades of service to the community.
Jabs was mayor of Jordan for 16 years, from 1993 to 2008. Prior to that, he was elected to the Jordan City Council for 12 years. Jabs remained active in city government for the rest of his life and was chairman of the Jordan Economic Development Authority at the time of his death.
“Ron Jabs dedicated over 40 years of community service to Jordan,” Mayor Tanya Velishek said. “In being mayor, EDA committee representative, or volunteer, Ron dedicated his time and service to better the Jordan community. His commitment and spirit will be remembered from myself and all of those he worked with.”
As mayor, Jabs oversaw the $838,000 restoration of Lagoon Park, which included the draining and dredging of the Mill Pond. The project restored the pond’s swimming area, installed a fishing pier, stocked the pond with bluegill, crappie and bass, and reconstructed pathways through the park.
A public servant to the core, Jabs also served as the first president of the Scott County Association for Leadership and Efficiency, president of the Minnesota Mayors Association and sat on the League of Minnesota Cities board of directors.
The League of Minnesota Cities honored Jabs in 2009 with the C.C. Ludwig Award, which recognizes city officials for their vision, statesmanship and unwavering commitment to the public good. The award is considered the league’s highest honor.
“I attended hundreds of meetings with Ron,” City Administrator Tom Nikunen said. “He was always prepared, listened and truly cared for what everyone had to say. His patience to hear everyone out at a meeting and fully discuss items was much greater than many of the rest of us. Ron was a great leader and his abilities to lead and listen fit the many positions he held in our community.”
Jabs was a member of the Jordan Commercial Club and was awarded the Outstanding Young Jordanite and Distinguished Service Award during his lifetime. He also chaired the city’s 150th anniversary celebration event.
He was a longtime member of the Jordan Historical Society and could always be seen dressed in historical clothing, alongside his wife Connie, at the society’s booth at Celebrate Jordan. Jabs was serving as president at the time of his death.
In recent years, Jabs oversaw the society’s move to the Jordan City Council Chambers building and helped the organization received $20,000 in grants to purchase a microfilm reader and 118 rolls of microfilmed newspaper and make primary records more accessible to the public.
Jabs worked 47 years at Minnesota Valley Electric Co-op, retiring in 2015. He and Connie were married for 43 years. Together they have two sons and eight grandchildren.