After being hospitalized for more than a month with COVID-19, Lewis County Commissioner Gary Stamper died Wednesday evening, the county said.

“The Lewis County Board of County Commissioners is devastated to announce that our friend, our commissioner, Gary Stamper has passed away after a five-week battle with COVID-19,” a press release from the county said.

The commission held an emergency meeting at 1 p.m. Thursday to discuss the steps needed to fill Stamper’s seat. He represented District 3 at the eastern end of the county.

Lewis County Critical Care Commissioner for COVID Treatment

Stamper, 67, was in the intensive care unit at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver after contracting COVID-19 in late August. Stamper previously said he was vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a story from Centralia’s The Chronicle. He had been Lewis County Commissioner since 2015, after retiring as principal of White Pass High School in Randle.

The press release said he “took pride in standing up for the little guy, protecting the region’s timber interests and promoting economic growth while maintaining the rural character of the region.”

“In his personal life, Gary enjoyed traveling with his wife, Bobbi Barnes, and spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren, whom he considered his top priority,” the press release said. “His travel adventures – or often his misadventures – with his wife have been the stuff of countless laughs.”

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