BRAINERD, Minn. (AP) — James Wallin, the longtime mayor of Brainerd who served in city government for nearly four decades, died on Saturday, the city administrator said.

Wallin died at his home, according to Brenny Funeral Chapel and Cremation Services. He was 73.

Wallin had served as mayor for 17 years. He was first elected to Brainerd’s City Council in 1977 and served in city government for 38 years.

City Administrator Jim Thoreen said that Wallin had some health problems but had not suffered a long illness.

“We woke to a great shock in Brainerd on Saturday morning and we are going to miss him,” Thoreen said.

Wallin, who loved flowers, was known to occasionally tend to flowers in city parks around Brainerd, Thoreen said.

The Star Tribune reported Wallin grew up in the lakes area of Nisswa, about 20 miles north of Brainerd. His longtime friend and fellow council member Chip Borkenhagen says Wallin was “truly one of the originals here.”

Both U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar expressed condolences.

Wallin’s funeral will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church in Brainerd.