Sacbee.com - Obituary: Douglas Udell, ex-Folsom official
Douglas L. Udell, who worked his way up from riding the back of a garbage truck to become assistant city manager for the city of Folsom, died Friday at home. He was 56.
Mr. Udell died of a sudden heart attack, his wife said Monday.
A pilot, Mr. Udell had always passed required annual physicals with no problems, said his wife, Norma Udell.
News of his death stunned friends and former colleagues of Mr. Udell, who rose through the ranks of City Hall to become Folsom's first assistant city manager.
I had known Doug since he came to work for the city in '73," former City Manager Bill Kime said. "He moved up and continued his education while working and did everything he should to get ahead."
Born in 1949 in Boulder, Colo., Mr. Udell was raised in Taos, N.M., Norma Udell said. When his parents separated, he moved to the Sacramento area with his mother and attended Bella Vista High School in Fair Oaks.
Mr. Udell served in the Marines from 1970 to 1972, his wife said. After leaving the military, he joined the city of Folsom and worked in several departments, including garbage collection, parks, the zoo and building inspection. He met his wife-to-be, a clerk in the city utility department, and they married in 1980.
The couple left Folsom in 1979, when Mr. Udell joined James M. Montgomery Engineers Inc. as a construction inspector on projects near Watsonville and Guerneville.
In 1984, they returned to Folsom, where Mr. Udell worked for Montgomery Engineers on the city's new water treatment plant before rejoining the city of Folsom as a construction inspector, his wife said.
Mr. Udell continued his education, earning a bachelor of science degree from California State University, Sacramento, and a master's degree in public administration from the University of San Francisco. By 1990, he was named assistant city manager and oversaw contracts and construction for the $22 million civic center complex, which opened in 1991.
City officials praised Mr. Udell as a hard-working manager and fiscal watchdog on construction projects.
Former Mayor Jack Kipp recalled a contractor who tried to negotiate changes that would have increased costs for the civic center project.
Mr. Udell "told him, 'The only change I'll give is a change to take the second bidder,' " Kipp said. "He brought that project in under bid and on schedule."
Mr. Udell left City Hall in 2000 to become a self-employed business consultant. In 2003, he joined DeSilva Group, working as a project manager on land acquisition deals until his death, Norma Udell said.
Mr. Udell remained active in Folsom issues after leaving city government. In 2002, he filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the city's affordable housing agreement with Legal Services of Northern California. Citing his experience in city government, he ran unsuccessfully for the City Council in 2002 and 2004.
Mr. Udell was a member of the Marine Corps League in Folsom and was an active volunteer for his son's Boy Scout Troop 94. He also enjoyed flying and completed his instrument rating in October, his wife said.
Douglas L. Udell
Born: Oct. 13, 1949
Died: Dec. 30, 2005 Remembered for: Folsom's first assistant city manager; candidate for City Council in 2002 and 2004.
Survived by: Wife, Norma, of Folsom; son, Wesley, of Folsom; brother, Farrell Udell of Santa Fe, N.M.; sisters, Christy Stripe of Yuba City and Lorna Talbot of Orangevale.
Memorial services: 11 a.m. Thursday, Community Bible Church, 601 Natoma St., Folsom. Memorial contributions may be made to the Educational Trust Fund for Wesley Udell at Golden 1 Credit Union, 1117 E. Bidwell St., Folsom, CA 95630