A long run in office

Niagara mayor, past Marinette County Board member Bousley retires after nearly half-century in public service

FORMER NIAGARA MAYOR George Bousley and his wife, Rose, are presented with a road sign by Marinette County Administrator John Lefebvre, right, during the Niagara City Council meeting April 12. The north section of Tyler Road leading to the Menominee River boat landing and recreational area, where the Bousleys enjoy daily walks, will be renamed Bousley Parkway in honor of Bousley’s public service. (Photo by Karen Klenke)

NIAGARA, Wis. — After more than four decades in public office, longtime Niagara Mayor George Bousley has stepped away.

The 86-year-old said he judged it time to retire because of the stress associated with work.

“You can run from Mother Nature but not Father Time,” Bousley said. “I’m not a teenager.”

He added, “We’ve just got some good people working now. These people don’t need me looking over their shoulder.”

Bousley presided over his final Niagara City Council meeting April 12, during which he was presented with a road sign by Marinette County Administrator John Lefebvre in recognition of his years of service.

Former Niagara Mayor George Bousley visits with Fred “Fitz” Rouse and his wife, Ann, once Niagara residents, during a celebration honoring Bousley in his retirement from public service on April 16. (Brian Christensen/Daily News photo)

The Bousley Parkway sign will stand at the north section of Tyler Road leading to the Menominee River boat landing and recreational area — an area Bousley and his wife, Rose, walk daily.

“Thank you for the many years of extraordinary service you have provided to Niagara,” said Curt Witynski, deputy director of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities. “You stand out as exemplifying the ideal local leader. Your honesty, humbleness, love of your community, hard work and tenacity to get things done is a rare combination.”

Witynski said Bousley may be the only person to serve as president and mayor of the same community.

Bousley first was elected as village president in 1975 — long before Niagara became a city in 1991 — and transitioned to mayor in 1995.

In 2000, Bousley was asked by a Marinette County Board member to try for a vacant seat. Four years into his tenure, Bousley was elected board chairman and remained in the position for eight years.

Bousley also was an active member of several other committees, including Economic Development, Housing Authority, Association for Business and Industry, Industrial Development and Emergency Management.

Bousley did not seek reelection to the county board in 2012 because he was reelected as mayor in 2009.

In addition to municipal and county government, Bousley was a board member of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities and the Niagara School District.

He served in the Army from 1957 to 1960 and in the Army Reserves from 1960 to 1963.

He also owned Bousley’s Auto Repair in Niagara from 1963 to 1999, when he first retired.

City employees honored Bousley’s public service at an open house celebration April 16. Many current and former residents attended, as well as members of the county board and state Rep. Jeffrey Mursau and state Sen. Mary Felzkowski.

Bousley’s son, Jim, presented him with a plaque of proclamation from Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, along with state and U.S. flags that have flown over the capitol.

When asked why he had spent so many years in public service, Bousley told The Daily News, “I just refer to myself as a slow learner.”

Bousley plans to add more miles to his running log in retirement. He originally set out to run the equivalent of the circumference of the Earth, a total of 24,901 miles. As of Monday, he’d accumulated 27,765 miles.

Bousley and his wife also look forward to spending more time with their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


Daily News staff writer Brian Christensen contributed to this article.


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