Mineral County Commissioner Clifford Cichowlaz died in Hawthorne on Friday, March 18, according to his family. He was 69 years of age.

The sudden death of Cichowlaz came as a surprise to many Mineral County employees who started their workday with the news.

As the chairman of the three-member governing board of Mineral County, the absence of Cichowlaz will be felt, especially as the commissioners began budget hearing’s this week. A specialty for the late commissioner who had a photographic memory of numbers and accounts.

Commissioner Paul MacBeth said he was in complete shock after hearing of Cichowlaz’s death.

“Cliff’s loss, to the county and to the community, will leave a voice that will be difficult to fill for a long time. As a fellow commissioner, we often had our differences, but we never let these differences interfere with our friendship. May he rest in peace. Cliff, I will miss you and our ability to agree to disagree,” MacBeth said in a statement.

Alongside MacBeth, Commissioner Jerrie Tipton also served with Cichowlaz. She described him as “one of the better commissioners I have served with”. She always addressed him as Clifford.

“He understood, inside and out, the budget process and finance. He had ‘vision’ for the community and was constantly trying to improve the quality of life for county residents. As well as I liked him we have had some lively discussions when we did not agree on an item,” she said in her statement to the Independent-News. Also replying that she was personally sick, sad and sorry at his passing.

By Nevada revised statute, the Mineral County Clerk’s office is responsible for notifying the Secretary of State Office of the vacancy.

The Secretary of State Office then advises Governor Brian Sandoval’s office of the vacancy. The governor’s office then fulfills the duty of appointing a qualified candidate to fill the term of Cichowlaz. The person must be of the same political party (Democratic).

A statement from Mineral County reads as follows: “Mineral County officials and staff were saddened to hear of the untimely death of Clifford “Cliff” Cichowlaz during the morning hours of Friday, March 18. At time of his passing, Cichowlaz was serving as chairman of the Mineral County board of Commissioners.

“Our sympathies go out to Cliff’s wife, Beth and the rest of his family at this time,” concluded MacBeth.

Graveside services for the late commissioner will be held this Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Hawthorne Cemetery with a celebration of life to follow.