The Oak Creek Common Council on Tuesday honored the life of former city clerk LaVerne Gutknecht, who was instrumental in the city's founding and served Oak Creek for 33 years.
Gutknecht, 86, died Nov. 23. She and six others fought off Milwaukee's annexation attempt in 1955 by going into hiding so that Milwaukee officials couldn't serve them legal papers.
That allowed Oak Creek residents to vote on a referendum, which passed overwhelmingly and allowed the town of Oak Creek to incorporate as a city.
"It was an unusual effort," said City Attorney Larry Haskin, who worked with Gutknecht when he started his tenure in 1985.
- Related coverage: Gutknecht helped Oak Creek fight Milwaukee, become a city.
Haskin remembered Gutknecht as a "wonderful, kind, gracious person" during Tuesday night's council meeting.
With a few members of Gutknecht's family in attendance, aldermen passed a resolution extending their sympathies and praising her public service.
"The current citizens of the city of Oak Creek owe a debt of gratitude to Laverne and the other founders of this city," according to the resolution.