The leader Greater Beloit needed, at a crucial time.

Tammy Maegli came late to public service, but in her brief time in office she did more to break down barriers and advance community interests than many of her predecessors.

Elected as board chair for the town of Beloit in 2018, she served only until the end of last year. A deadly illness forced her from office in December, and she passed away at home surrounded by her family last week. She had soldiered on as long as she could, continuing to carry the town of Beloit's burdens even as her health declined.

The town of Beloit is better for her calm, open-minded leadership. Even more, the entire Beloit community benefited.

Readers will recall the festering and often hostile differences that divided the broader community, with many of the causes dating back decades. Efforts to bridge those differences largely failed, and matters came to a head with the town of Beloit proposing to, basically, obtain a divorce by incorporating into a new and separate municipality. The first order of business would be dumping Beloit from its name.

When Tammy Maegli sought the chair in the 2018 election, she did so with a tone of conciliation. She wanted to lower the temperature, to let go of grudges and find ways to promote not only good policies for town residents but also initiatives to make the public sector work better for the entire Greater Beloit community.

She was instrumental in moving forward an agenda, in cooperation with others, that has improved the tone, facilitated negotiations and neighborliness, and promises to deliver vital services more efficiently.

Quite a legacy.

For family and friends, she’ll always be remembered as a devoted wife, a great mom and one who regularly stepped up to help others.

For our community, she was a do-er, not focused on differences but rather on what could get done to benefit everybody. She leaves behind the kind of example others should follow.