Taranko served his community only second to his family.

April 9, 2019

Wally Taranko

Taranko served his community only second to his family.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — Mason County Commissioner and former Ludington Police Chief Wally Taranko passed away Monday, April 8. Taranko, 75, had been serving as the district 1 commissioner. Prior to being elected to the county board, he was a Ludington city councilor. He had also served as the Mason County Emergency Management Coordinator and director of the local American Red Cross.

Taranko’s involvement in his community was a commitment second to only his family, said County Chairwoman Janet Anderson. “Through his roles in law enforcement, emergency management, Red Cross, Ludington City Council, Mason County Board of Commissioners and countless other activities.  Wally’s commitment, experience, knowledge, and integrity have been invaluable to the County Board of Commissioners,” Anderson said. “Throughout his illness, he made it a priority to be informed about county issues. In speaking with him on Sunday, he had two top goals: To attend his Granddaughter’s graduation and attend an upcoming committee meeting. His dedication was steadfast. He was pleased on Sunday to hear of the realization of a project he had a special passion for- the creation of a Veterans Service Office.  Wally’s family was first and foremost in his life, but his passion and service to his community was next. He will be missed.”

Ludington Police Chief Mark Barnett, who succeeded Taranko when he retired as chief, said Taranko had become a valuable friend over the years.

“I first met Chief Wally Taranko when I had applied for the chief’s position,” Barnett said. “Over the years we became fast friends. He has been a great sounding board for both professional and personal decisions. I have appreciated his friendship and will miss him very much.”

Taranko was also instrumental in the creation of the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum and was active with the Ludington police and fire departments’ harbor patrol.

Arrangements by Oak Grove Funeral Home of Ludington, www.oakgroveludington.com. Taranko’s obituary will be posted later this week.

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