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Koka Booth, the former Mayor of Cary who oversaw its boom into one of the most populous towns in North Carolina, has died.

The announcement was made Tuesday (Oct. 10) by current Mayor Harold Weinbrecht Jr., as reported by WRAL.

As Mayor of Cary, N.C., it is with a heavy yet grateful heart that I acknowledge the death of our 34th mayor – Mayor Koka Booth, who passed away last night. On behalf of the entire Cary Town Council and staff along with the 184,000 citizens who call Cary home, I extend our heartfelt condolences to Mayor Booth’s family and thank them for sharing so much of him with us. We all benefited from his enthusiastic efforts to help make Cary the wonderful place it is today.  In honor of Mayor Booth’s service from 1987-1999 and beginning with the day of his funeral, we will lower Cary flags for 12 days – one day for each of his years as Mayor – and proclaim that day to be a day of remembrance in Cary.

A Legacy of Service

Booth served the town for decades, starting with his appointment to Cary Town Council during Fred Bond’s tenure as mayor. Booth served for 22 years and was elected mayor in 1987. He would remain mayor for 12 years, from 1987 to 1999.

As mayor, Booth saw the growth of the town as part of NC’s Research Triangle. He took advantage of the industrial growth of the city, building new roads, parks and recreation facilities, updated water treatment facilities, and the development of the Downtown area.

When asked about his legacy (including the naming of Koka Booth Amphitheatre in his honor), Booth said in a 2010 interview with CaryCitizen:

“Look, please don’t give me credit in your article for anything. I was just here. I loved Cary then and I love it now. I am happy with what our town has become. Any credit goes not to me but to a lot of amazing people that selflessly worked on the vision to make Cary a great place to work and raise a family.”