Former Westerville City Councilman Damon "Chip" Wetterauer Jr.'s influence on the city of Westerville is visible in its streets: He played an active role in the building of the Westerville Community Center and in the development of North Cleveland Avenue and Polaris Parkway.

Former Westerville City Councilman Damon "Chip" Wetterauer Jr.'s influence on the city of Westerville is visible in its streets: He played an active role in the building of the Westerville Community Center and in the development of North Cleveland Avenue and Polaris Parkway.

There are also more subtle signs of his influence: He helped forge the convivial relationship between Westerville city and Westerville City Schools and created the annual State of the Community address.

City officials and friends remembered Wetterauer's contributions to the city earlier this week after Wetterauer died unexpectedly Aug. 22 while visiting his family vacation home Myrtle Beach, S.C.

He was 68.

"There are certain types of people who just feel the obligation to engage in service and to make the place they live a better place. If you look around Westerville, you see a lot of them, and he was one of them," said John Oleyar, a friend of Wetterauer who ran his council campaigns.

"He just felt if each one of us would contribute a little bit toward the place that we lived, overall, we would have a much better community to live in and to pass on to the next generation."

Wetterauer served four terms on Westerville City Council from 1989-1997 and 1999-2007, serving on two different occasions as chairman and also as vice chairman and vice mayor. In 2010, Wetterauer served on the city's Charter Review Commission.

Wetterauer also was an active Rotarian and at one time served as chairman of Westerville's youth baseball program.

Those who served with Wetterauer on council said he was an ethical and principled leader who had a knack for bringing people together.

"He was the first person who really brought the city and the school district together," said Councilwoman and Mayor Kathy Cocuzzi. "He really wanted the city of Westerville to be a community of Westerville. I think that was one of the greatest things he did."

Wetterauer had a sense of humor and a way of putting people at ease, said former Councilwoman Norma Westervelt. Wetterauer's highest concern was always the future of the city, Westervelt said.

"He wasn't in the job of being a councilman for himself. He really was there to try to do the best for Westerville," she said. "When I think about him, I think about his smile, his sense of humor, his high ethics, being an honorable person, being a nice person to be around, a good person to be around. He was a very good leader."

Former Councilman Gary Van Arsdale said Wetterauer was a "careful thinker" who always thought through how decisions would affect the city both in the short and long term.

"He was a very analytical individual. On City Council, in his law business, he would take an item or issue and look at it from any angle possible before he would conclude what was best for the community, for everyone," Van Arsdale said. "He saw how things might move long term as well as short term. He wanted to be sure we provided things for our children in a positive fashion who would become residents of our community."

Wetterauer graduated from Worthington High School and Oberlin College. He worked as a teacher before earning his law degree from Capital University.

He moved to Westerville in 1972 and raised his family here.

"He just loved the community," Cocuzzi said. "It was his community, where he lived, and the more he lived here, the longer he grew to love it and felt there was something special about Westerville."

Cocuzzi said it was Wetterauer's determination to keep the city great that helped move the city forward with developing commercial areas, expanding the park system and helping pick a successor to longtime City Manager Dave Lindimore.

"We would not be where we are today without him being in the positions he was in," Cocuzzi said.

Though he loved the city, Wetterauer was a devoted family man who put his family first, Oleyar said.

"I remember one time he told me that as long as his grandkids would smile and let him play with them, anything else that happened to him, he was OK with," Oleyar said.

Wetterauer is survived by wife Kathye, children Ric, Dirk and Karol, and four grandchildren -- Sean and Quinn Hanley, Drake and Dakota Wetterauer.