INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Beurt SerVaas, a businessman and Republican leader who played a key role in the revitalization of Indianapolis beginning in the 1970s, has died. He was 94.
SerVaas died Sunday, according to his daughter, Joan SerVaas, and The Saturday Evening Post, the magazine SerVaas bought in 1970 and continued to own. His cause of death was not immediately released.
During his 40 years on the Indianapolis City-County Council, including 27 as president, SerVaas played a key role in the state legislation that created Unigov, which consolidated the city and county governments and extended the Indianapolis city limits to the Marion County line in 1970.
"Beurt SerVaas was instrumental in the foundation of Unigov, but more importantly, his service as president of the City-County Council for 27 years was indispensable in the success of Unigov and the outstanding progress of Indianapolis," said Richard Lugar, the former Indianapolis mayor and U.S. senator.
Upon his retirement from the council in 2002, SerVaas told The Indianapolis Star: "I set about the job of rebuilding the city. I consider myself a builder. I built businesses. I built a family. I built a publishing company."
SerVaas and his wife, Cory, had five children and 19 grandchildren.
Gov. Mike Pence issued a statement saying, "his legacy will endure for generations to come.
"With decades of service to the people of Indiana as a civic, business and philanthropic leader ... Beurt SerVaas devoted his life to bettering his community and the lives of all those he served," Pence said.
SerVaas served with the Navy Intelligence Command during World War II and later worked for the Central Intelligence Agency.