NeSmith reelection announcement courtesy photo (copy)

Jerry NeSmith, Athens-Clarke County District 6 commissioner, has died. He was 71 years old.

NeSmith served as a commissioner since 2013. He was also a former director of information technology for research at the University of Georgia.

“We are heartbroken to learn of Commissioner NeSmith’s tragic passing,” Mayor Kelly Girtz said in a press release. “Jerry was a fierce advocate for the businesses and residents of his district. His passion and energy will be sorely missed in this community.”

An ACC Police Department press release said the ACCPD is and ACC Coroner are investigating the death, but the “preliminary investigation suggests the death is accidental.”

NeSmith was running for reelection against Jesse Houle for District 6 commissioner ahead of the June 9 primary.

NeSmith held a number of leadership titles in the Athens community. He served as a member of the ACC Planning Commission, the Advantage Behavioral Health Systems Board of Directors and as treasurer and elder of the Oconee Presbyterian Church. NeSmith was also the founding director of the Athens Farmers Market.

NeSmith was from Decatur, Alabama. He leaves behind his wife Farol, son Jason, daughter Noel and three grandchildren.