High Point has lost one of its best-known and highly regarded leaders.

On Monday, Oct. 7, Former Mayor Arnold J. Koonce Jr., passed away. Koonce, who was 93, served for decades on the High Point City Council and served two terms as mayor – a position he last held in 2003.

Koonce also played a major role in the city’s development by serving on numerous boards that worked to enhance the quality of life in High Point.  For instance, he served as High Point’s representative on the Piedmont Triad Regional Water Authority board for 26 years and was chairman of that board for over a decade.

Upon the news of his death, many city leaders remembered him fondly and praised his contributions.

The High Point City Council already gave Koonce a big honor in 2015 when the council changed the name of High Point Municipal Lake to Arnold J. Koonce, Jr., City Lake.

Former High Point Mayor Bill Bencini, who followed in Koonce’s footsteps in the city’s top elected leadership role, said that Koonce had a big influence on him.

“Whatever positive things about running the city that I learned, I learned from him,” Bencini said.

Bencini added that Koonce’s contributions to High Point were too numerous to list, but he said that one area where Koonce really made his mark was in improving the city’s water supply.

“He really pushed hard to make sure High Point had the water it needed,” Bencini said. “High Point didn’t have the same need for water that Greensboro had, but he knew we should be prepared.  He was around when they built the Oak Hollow reservoir.”

Bencini said that his father, who also served as High Point mayor, was good friends with Koonce.

Bencini said Koonce, who was the head salesman for Carolina Container, was also a success in business and in other aspects of life.

“He was a really great person,” Bencini said.