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Kevin Eltife (far right) swears in City Councilman Chris Sudduth during a City Council meeting on May 15. Pictured at left is Dana Sudduth. (Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph)

A Tyler City Council member has died.

Criss Sudduth, who represented District 6, died Thursday after a long illness. Sudduth, 60, had been a city councilman since May, after replacing John Nix, who had reached his term limits.

Sudduth’s death was announced by family on social media and by the city of Tyler on Friday morning.

Sudduth was well known for his community involvement and volunteerism. He was the owner and president of Ark Assurance Group and served on the boards of several community nonprofits, including the executive committees of the Central East Texas Better Business Bureau, the Tyler Area Builders’ Association, County Rehabilitation Center and SBMP Inc., according to a news release from the city.

His past community service included the board of directors for North Tyler Developmental Academy, Tyler Area Drug Abuse Program, Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce Contact Club and the Independent Insurance Agents of Tyler.

He was an active member of Green Acres Baptist Church, where he co-coordinated the 10:30 a.m. Resonate Worship service, and was serving his second term as chair of the insurance committee, city officials said.

He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Dana, and their three adult children.

Sudduth’s seat will remain vacant until the regular election for District 6 in May 2020. The filing period begins Jan. 15 and continues until Feb. 14.

“It was my honor and privilege to serve with Criss,” Mayor Martin Heines said in a prepared statement. “His strength of character, unwavering optimism and faith inspired our City Council and the entire East Texas community.”

A lifelong resident of Tyler, Sudduth graduated from Robert E. Lee High School and Tyler Junior College. He was an independent insurance agent in Tyler for more than 30 years.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Councilman Sudduth, who was a devoted public servant, father, husband and leader within the Tyler community,” City Manager Ed Broussard said. “The city of Tyler mourns alongside his family and loved ones during this incredibly difficult time.”

This story will be updated.

Cory is a multimedia journalist and member of the Education Writers Association, Criminal Justice Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. He has appeared on The Murder Tapes, Crime Watch Daily and Grave Mysteries on Investigation Discovery.

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