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Willis Casey, former SF, Pittsburg police chief, dies

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Willis Casey, who served as San Francisco’s police chief in the early 1990s and who later was police chief, city manager and a city councilman in Pittsburg, died Thursday after a seven-month battle with cancer. He was 80.

Casey had a 30-year career with the San Francisco Police Department, where he was named chief in November 1990, replacing the retiring Frank Jordan. Casey was fired from that post in 1992 by then-Mayor Jordan.

Casey was named Pittsburg’s police chief in 1994, and has been credited with helping turn around a department that had been mired in political turmoil. He left the department in 1998 to become the commander of patrol and contract law enforcement units for the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department.

He returned to Pittsburg in 2000, this time as city manager. He served three years in that post, and then served three four-year terms on the Pittsburg City Council, stepping down in late 2016.

Born in San Francisco on Dec. 13, 1937, Casey graduated from Riordan High School in 1955. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of San Francisco in 1959, and later served two years in the U.S. Army.

His wife of 47 years, Patricia, died in 2007.

Visitation is scheduled from 5 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday at Sneider and Sullivan and O’Connell’s Funeral Home in San Mateo. Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Ignatius Church in San Francisco, with interment to follow at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Colma. A memorial service in Pittsburg will be held at a later date.

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