Former Huron mayor Paul Aylward passed away Sunday, Jan. 22, at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, surrounded by his family. He was 77.
Aylward served as mayor in Huron from 2013-2020. He focused heavily on housing within the city during his time as mayor, first undergoing a significant process of cleaning up and demolishing houses that had been condemned and been deemed unlivable for many years. At the same time, in partnership with multiple organizations within the city, Aylward oversaw the development of multiple new apartment complexes and housing developments, notably the Southtown development.
Aylward served in the United States Army before working with Huron Armour and Company for 15 years. He was the director for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union Council 59 through 2012, often spending time lobbying in Pierre on behalf of union members. He served the community in many facets, through boards, committees and organizations.
Mayor Gary Harrington relates that he and Aylward both served as softball umpires and developed a friendship with Paul in that time. Harrington relays that the two made the decision to run for Huron city government at the same time, Harrington as a commissioner and Aylward as mayor.
“We were sitting at a basketball game, and I said I was going to run, and he turned around and said that he was going to do the same, so he would run for mayor instead,” Harrington recalled. “At the end of our first term, he offered to swap, but I wasn’t having that!”
Harrington said that Aylward had a combination of care and patience that allowed him to succeed in his work life and bring a unique touch to community organizations.
He remembered that when it came time to appoint someone to oversee the state softball umpires, Paul was the right person.
“He really cared about the youth,” Harrington emphasized. “Yet, he also could handle the parents that might get out of control. He had the ability to show both really well.”
Visitation for Aylward is at Welter Funeral Home from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, with his Mass of Christian Burial at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Huron on Monday at 11 a.m.