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Published: Saturday, 10/5/2013 - Updated: 2 years ago

Judge spurred Toledo’s renewal as mayor in ’60s

John W. Potter, a retired U.S. District Court judge who served as the city of Toledo’s mayor for most of the 1960s, died Thursday in Toledo Hospital. He was 94.

Potter Potter

Judge Potter was appointed Toledo mayor in 1961 and held onto the position until 1965, when he became the first directly elected Toledo mayor in 30 years. He defeated popular Democrat Ned Skeldon, who was a county commissioner, in the first municipal election since a charter change approved by voters in 1963 ended the process of council electing the mayor.

As mayor, he was instrumental in Toledo downtown redevelopment, including the reactivation of a dormant Vistula Downtown renewal project and initiating the Riverview Downtown renewal project, including Levis Square and Promenade Park.

Judge Potter was appointed a judge on U.S. District Court in Toledo by President Ronald Reagan on June 21, 1982. He served as senior judge from 1992 to 2004. He was formerly a Sixth District Court of Appeals judge from 1969 to 1982.

Visitation will be from 3 p.m to 7 p.m. Oct. 11 in the Foth-Dorfmeyer Funeral Home, 3815 W. Sylvania Ave. Services will be at 11 a.m. Oct. 12, at Epworth United Methodist Church, with visitation at the church beginning at 10 a.m.

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