Al Whitlow

Michigan City Councilman Ron Hamilton Jr. looks at the seat vacated by the Nov. 19 passing of Al Whitlow. The seat will be filled at a Democratic caucus next month.

Stan Maddux, The Times

MICHIGAN CITY – All Democratic precinct committeemen in Michigan City will meet Dec. 20 to fill a seat on the City Council vacated by the unexpected death of Councilman Al Whitlow.

LaPorte County Democratic Party Chairman Jim Kimmel said he called the caucus Monday after the LaPorte County clerk’s office received official notice of Whitlow’s Nov. 19 death.

The caucus wil be at 7 p.m. in the community room of the Michigan City Police Department, 1201 E. Michigan Blvd.

Kimmel said candidates must file before 4 p.m. Dec. 17 with the county clerk’s office in LaPorte.

Under Indiana law, political parties must have a caucus within 30 days to fill a seat once a vacancy becomes official.

Kimmel said all Democratic precinct committeemen will vote because Whitlow, as councilman at large, represented the whole city, not just a single ward.

Whitlow, 78, was a 1957 graduate of Elston High School in Michigan City. Nine years later, he was assistant coach on the boys basketball team from his alma mater that brought home a state championship.

After retiring from education, he was executive director of the Michigan City Boys & Girls Club from 2001 to 2014.

"Al was kind of an icon in Michigan City and had a great reputation with a lot of the citizens of Michigan City. His shoes are going to be tough to fill," Kimmel said.

Whitlow served one previous term on the council in the early 1980s.

After choosing not to run for re-election back then, his seat was filled by Tom Alevizos, who went on to become a state representative and is now judge in LaPorte Circuit Court.

Alevizos said Whitlow was genuine in his concern for people and his desire to provide direction, especially to youth.

"He wasn’t the kind who was just out there. He was there to mentor people, support people and help the community," Alevizos said.

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