ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford has lost another city leader.

Alderwoman Linda McNeely of the 13th Ward recently passed away. After losing 11th Ward Alderman Tuffy Quinonez back in February, city leaders that that this is a shock for all.

“This feels like it’s something that was written in a story and it just doesn’t feel real,” said 12th Ward Alderwoman Gina Meeks. “You know, we were all still processing Tuffy, and to now come on the heels of this death has just, this has definitely taken a hit to our council.”

McNeely served the City of Rockford, and its people, for 26 years. Meeks worked alongside her for the last two, and she said that she looked up to her colleague.

“She, coming into this, I looked at her as a mentor, you know, someone that I felt was going to help guide me in the direction that I needed to be,” Meeks said.

Meeks regrets not taking advantage of the time they had together.

“I wish I had more memories, I wish I had more experiences,” she said. “But, I’m very grateful. Very grateful for the time that we had.”

Mayor Tom McNamara called the 13th Ward alderwoman a passionate public servant.

“Right now is a good time to make sure that, one, we’re all praying for her family, making sure that we’re thinking about Alderwoman McNeely, the amazing work that she’s done,” McNamara said. “She’s given 26 years of her life to this community and service as an alderwoman.”

McNamara said that he will remember her as intelligent and determined, as well as for her fiery passion to her community and family.

“She was very eager, and she was very eager to see the redevelopment of W. 8th Street, now that the infrastructure,” he said. “So, she wanted to see new businesses, so I know as those come, I will continue to think of her and the influence that she’s had on our community.”

Both McNamara and Meeks said that they are still processing the loss and believe that the council will feel different without McNeely.

“But, I’m confident that we will all pick up these pieces, you know, and move forward. I’m confident every single person on council to be able to do that, and we will miss her. We will miss her,” Meeks said. “We will miss those thought-provoking questions. We will miss so much about Linda.”

McNamara said he wants to make sure that all residents of the 13th Ward’s needs are met as he looks to appoint an Alderperson. He encourages anyone in McNeely’s district to reach out to him with any concerns.