Darrell Essex, Cypress’ longest-tenured city manager with 34 years of service, died on April 16 at the age of 87. Essex was very well-respected in Cypress and as a City Manager.
Darrell Essex was appointed City Manager in 1962, when Cypress was primarily a dairy community with only 4,000 residents. During his years of service, Essex lead the City through a time of tremendous growth and development. Under his leadership, Cypress grew into a thriving community with over 46,000 residents and thousands of homes and businesses that now cover what was farmland when he was hired.
In addition to serving as City Manager, Essex was a charter member of the Cypress Rotary Club and served on the Boards of Hotline of Southern California and the Horsemen’s Quarter Horse Racing Association Charity Foundation. Essex was named the “1983-84 Citizen of the Year” by Cypress Chamber of Commerce and selected as the “1987-88 Outstanding Public Administrator in Orange County” by the American Society for Public Administration. In 1994, the Cypress City Council renamed Texaco Park, at 5131 Ball Road, Darrell Essex Park in recognition of his service as City Manager and his instrumental efforts to purchase the parkland following the closure of the Texaco facility in Cypress.
Following his retirement, Essex maintained an interest in city management and served as an International City/County Management Association (ICMA) Range Rider for 13 years. In 1997, Essex was honored as the Americana Award “Cypress Citizen of the Year” by Cypress College Foundation for his outstanding contributions to the community.
“Our deepest sympathies are with the entire Essex family and all who considered Darrell a friend. We are thankful for all he did to make Cypress the city it is today,” said Mayor Stacy Berry.
Essex was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado and grew up in nearby Pueblo. He earned a BS and a MS from the University of Southern California. Part of his college education was interrupted by two years of service in the U.S. Army. Essex is survived by his wife Clare and their family. The Cypress City Council will adjourn its April 22 meeting in honor of Darrell Essex.
The article above was released by the City of Cypress.