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City Flags Fly at Half-Staff for Former Rochester Hills Mayor Billie Ireland

Ireland was the city's mayor for 10 years; she died Sunday in northern Michigan.

Billie Ireland, who served as the mayor of Rochester Hills for 10 years in the mid 1980s and 1990s, died Sunday at a hospital near her home in northern Michigan.

She was 83, according to her obituary published in the Gladwin Record & Clarion newspaper.

"Billie had many accomplishments in her life including tutor for students with learning disabilities and bus driver for the Rochester Hills schools, postal route driver for the Rochester Hills area as well as a practical nurse," the obituary stated.

Ireland was first elected to the board of what was then Avon Charter Township in 1980; she later served as council president and eventually mayor.

According to a news release from the city, Ireland retired in 1995. She was at the forefront of the establishment of Rochester Hills, including the creation of the Public Safety Building and the land purchases of Riverbend, Nowicki, Avondale and Bloomer parks.

“Mayor Ireland served at a time when our city was just beginning to grow. Countless subdivisions were being developed, as well as malls, shopping centers and several research and development parks,” said Mike Hartner, the city's Parks and Forestry Director.

Ireland is survived by her husband, John, of 65 years, as well as her sons, John Jr. (Clodette) Ireland of Rochester Hills, Carl (Denise) Ireland of Beaverton and Brett (Lauri) Ireland of Midland. Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday at Hall-Kokotovich Funeral Home in Gladwin.

Flags will be flown at half-staff today at all municipal buildings in honor of Ireland.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the entire family as we remember what an extraordinary leader she was and the legacy that she has left in our community,” said Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett.

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