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Commissioners issue proclamation for Dr. Joe Stothert, offer condolences

Authorities said Dr. Joe Stothert was found dead at his home Friday afternoon, March 5, 2021.
Authorities said Dr. Joe Stothert was found dead at his home Friday afternoon, March 5, 2021.(Courtesy photo)
Published: Mar. 23, 2021 at 2:43 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Mayor Jean Stothert and her two children were at the Douglas County Commissioners meeting Tuesday morning, at which time the board issued a proclamation honoring the mayor’s husband.

Dr. Joe Stothert was found dead at the family’s home earlier this month.

Before reading a proclamation honoring Dr. Stothert’s life, Board President Chris Rogers let the family know that people are there for them if they need any help.

The mayor thanked the board and the city for the outpouring of support, saying that her husband was depressed, but didn’t want to get help. He saved lives, but he didn’t want anyone to save his life, she said.

“My heart breaks,” the mayor said. “I hope he’s in a better place.”

Mayor Stothert said caring for other people’s mental health needs to be a priority, noting that a lot of people had written to her in recent weeks about suicide within their own families.

Her daughter, Elizabeth Leddy, and son, Dr. Andrew Stothert, were also at Tuesday’s meeting.

“I just ask that if anybody here or anybody listening is feeling any hopelessness, ask for help,” Leddy said. “If you’re feeling down, ask for help.”

Each of the commissioners offered the Stothert family their condolences.

Commissioner P.J. Morgan, who talked about losing his 26-year-old son to suicide, said he knew how much support means during a time like this, “and we will support the mayor.”

Commissioner Maureen Boyle talked about suicide among physicians, saying they succeed at twice the rate of the general population. There’s a lot on their plate, she said.

“They see a lot. They feel a lot. And they don’t like to ask for help because it’s a sign of weakness,” she said.

“I’m glad I knew Joe, and I’m glad I know you,” Commissioner Mike Friend said.

Commissioner James Cavanaugh offered his condolences as well and complimented the mayor on her grace, poise, and courage during this time.

“You kids should be very proud of your dad’s contribution to our community,” he said. “It’s our honor to honor him.”

“I hope your family comes to peaceful terms with this,” Commissioner Mary Ann Borgeson said to the Stotherts, thanking them for speaking out on mental health. “It’s an important issue that needs to be talked about. ... Know that Joe is in many hearts.”

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