Friends remember longtime Lynchburg leader M.W. "Teedy" Thornhill

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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) Lynchburg residents are saying goodbye to a longtime public servant who made history as the city's first black mayor.

M.W. "Teedy" Thornhill in 1990

M.W. Thornhill died Saturday. He was 95 years old.

People who knew Thornhill called him "Teedy." He rose to prominence as a member of city council, but he was active in the community long before he entered politics.

Friends say Thornhill was instrumental in fighting to establish the "ward" system in Lynchburg, which guarantees that all four quadrants of the city have representation in their local government.

Thornhill was elected to city council in 1976. He served as vice mayor for 12 years before becoming the city's first black mayor in 1990.

Thornhill was also well known in Lynchburg as the owner and president of Community Funeral Home.

"He was the kind of person that represented and stood up for everyone," said Thornhill's friend, Danny McCain. "He was the one that people could depend on when no one else would take up their issues or support them."

A visitation for Thornhill will be held Friday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. at Court Street Baptist Church. His funeral will be held in the same place Saturday morning at 11.

Planning is underway to honor Thornhill with a permanent memorial in Lynchburg. His friends want to erect a 9-foot statue, bearing Thorhill's likeness, at the center of a roundabout on 5th street.