Fruita Councilwoman Dies During First Term in Office

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Fruita, Colo. (AP) Friends, relatives and colleagues are mourning the loss of Fruita City Council member Darline Merling.

Darline Merling died Friday at St. Mary's hospital in Grand Junction. She was 73.

Merling had been elected in 2004, following a previous term on the planning commission.

Fruita mayor Jim Adams remembered Merling as someone who served on the council, not for herself -- and said she had no agenda of her own.

Merling's cause of death is not yet known.

A memorial service will be held on Wednesday at the LDS Chapel in Fruita. Contributions can also be made to the Roice – Hurst Humane Society.

The city has 60 days to fill the vacant seat, with plans to advertise, and the council will appoint someone to serve out the rest of Merling's term -- scheduled to expire in 2008.