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Trailblazing former Midvale Mayor JoAnn Seghini has died

City’s first woman elected to public office served Midvale for 68 years before retiring in 2017

Midvale Mayor JoAnn Seghini poses for a photo outside of City Hall in Midvale on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017.
Midvale Mayor JoAnn Seghini poses for a photo outside of City Hall in Midvale on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

MIDVALE — Trailblazer, teacher, fighter and champion for her city’s citizens, former Midvale Mayor JoAnn Seghini has died just two and a half years after she retired.

“It is with tremendous sadness that we announce the passing of former Mayor JoAnn Seghini,” Mayor Robert Hale said in a statement posted on the city’s website Saturday. “Mayor Seghini was a dedicated public servant who served Midvale for more than 68 years. She worked for Jordan School District for 36 years (first as a teacher then as an administrator). She served on the planning commission and became the first woman in Midvale to be elected to a public office and served three terms as a council member and 20 years as the mayor. Using her endless energy, she led, uplifted, and championed the residents, non-profits, and businesses of Midvale city.”

He continued, “JoAnn will be deeply missed by the City Council, Midvale city staff, the residents of Midvale, and myself. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends during this difficult time.”

It was former Mayor Trent Jepson who convinced Seghini to run for city council. She declined.

“I said, ‘I already have a job,” she said in a 2017 interview with the Deseret News discussing her career as she retired. “I don’t want to run for council, I’m just happy as can be.”

He called her again, just 15 minutes before the filing deadline, and she was persuaded to give running for office a try. She was the first woman in the city to do so.

“How in the world did you win?” Seghini remembers a reporter asking her. “I said, ‘I got more votes.’”

She never lost an election, and in fact, won every election after that with at least 60% of the vote. Her popularity came from her work ethic and her commitment to the underdog. When she retired, she was gracious in saying it had been her honor to serve the community she loved for most of her adult life.

“It’s a new day and a new time for somebody else,” Seghini said in December 2017, after surveying the office’s bare walls. “It’s really not mine. The people of Midvale have allowed me to have it for 20 years, and I’m really grateful.”

20171228 Midvale Mayor JoAnn Seghini talks about her career in front of a wall of photos of previous mayors at Midvale City Hall on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017. Seghini is retiring after more than 30 years of public service.
Midvale Mayor JoAnn Seghini talks about her career in front of a wall of photos of previous mayors at Midvale City Hall on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Citizens praised Seghini and mourned her passing on Facebook.

“She did great things with our community and we wouldn’t be where we are without her,” wrote one woman. “What a sad day for Midvale! She was so loved by her community that she loved so dearly as well! They don’t make em like that any more! You will be sorely missed! RIP MAYOR SEGHINI.”

One man posted, “The world is a little darker today. You will be sorely missed Mayor Seghini. I’m glad I had the pleasure of working for you!”

“This is sad,” wrote a woman. “I only had the pleasure of interacting with her once or twice, but I was always impressed by the way she approached her service to the city and the care she showed to everyone living here. She will be missed. Her life and service was a blessing.”

Another poster expressed condolences for all those who knew and loved Seghini.

“My heart is heavy with this news,” he wrote. “I have a great respect and admiration for Mayor Seghini. My thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends, community and all who knew this wonderful lady.”