Mayor of Rice Lake dies after long cancer battle

Mayor John D. Werner
Mayor John D. Werner(Northern News Now)
Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 11:05 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 27, 2023 at 12:11 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RICE LAKE, MN. (Northern News Now) - The Mayor of Rice Lake, MN has died after a long battle with cancer.

The City of Rice Lake announced Mayor John D. Werner died Saturday evening.

Werner served over 41 years in the military, starting with the Vietnam War and through the 9/11 attacks.

Originally serving 35 years, which is mandatory retirement for the military, he got a call six months after the attack asking if he would come back.

Werner spent 21 years as a Command Sergeant Major, the highest non-commissioned rank in the army, and he retired highly decorated.

Due to fighting in Vietnam, he got Leukemia Multiple-myeloma, a blood cancer, which is a presumptive disease associated with Agent Orange.

He was a lifelong resident of Rice Lake and served his community in many ways over his lifetime.

When Rice Lake faced annexation in 2015, Werner took a stand.

He was a key leader in saving Rice Lake from annexation and making it its own city.

After his efforts, Werner was then elected to be the first mayor of the newly formed City of Rice Lake.

Recently, he was leading a project to build a Veteran’s Memorial Park in Rice Lake, which is set to be completed this fall.

City spokespeople also say he was a great leader and charged forward with the best interests of Rice Lake as his guide.

The funeral will be held on Wednesday, April 5 at 11 a.m. at St. John’s Church.

There will be a visitation on Tuesday, April 4 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Dougherty Funeral Home and at 9:30 a.m. prior to the funeral at St. John’s.

In lieu of flowers and cards, Werner’s family is asking that donations be made to the Rice Lake Veteran’s Memorial Park.

Checks should be made payable to Duluth Honor Guard, memo: Rice Lake Memorial Park, 5814 Grand Ave., Duluth, MN 55807.