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COMMUNITY NEWS: SOUTHEAST

BELL : Mayor Recovering From Stroke

March 21, 1993|DUKE HELFAND

Mayor Jay Price remains hospitalized in fair condition after suffering a stroke last weekend.

Relatives said that Price, 78, the oldest member of the City Council and the longest-standing elected official in Los Angeles County, is improving.

"His vital signs are all good and his blood pressure going into surgery was near perfect," said his son, John. "At the present time, things are fairly positive. It will take some time for him to be weaned off the medications. It's going to be gradual, but we're very upbeat."

Before the stroke, Price had been hospitalized Feb. 16 at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Bellflower for treatment of gangrene, which doctors said was caused by circulatory problems related to diabetes. Surgeons amputated two toes on Price's right foot on Feb. 23, and the foot's other toes were removed a week later.

Although the surgeries were successful, Price suffered a stroke March 12, the day he was moved to Alamitos Belmont Rehabilitation Hospital in Long Beach. Doctors said the stroke was unrelated to the surgeries.

Price was readmitted to the Bellflower hospital the next day. John Price said his father is conscious and his eyes are open but that he is unable to speak.

Although Jay Price has diabetes, relatives said he was in good health until the onset of the toe problem about two days before he was hospitalized. But some City Council colleagues and city workers said they had been worried that Price might have been neglecting his health since the death of his wife, Gertrude, last June.

"His wife kept him on the right track when she was alive." said Hazel Collet, City Council secretary for the last 18 years. "Mr. Price even told me, 'When I get out of the hospital, I'll have to be more careful about what I eat. I have not been watching it like I should have.' "

A native of Los Angeles who was raised in Pomona, Price moved to Bell in 1938 and was elected to the council in 1958. Former County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn, who served 40 years in his post until stepping down last year, is the only elected official in the county to serve a longer consecutive period.

Price, a Compton College graduate, also served 19 years on the Southern California Rapid Transit District board of directors. He is a former officer of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

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