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Mayor continues duties despite illness

LAWRENCEVILLE - Lawrenceville Mayor Bobby Sikes is undergoing treatment for leukemia.

The retired auto dealer, who has been mayor since 2004, learned Friday he has the form of cancer.

Sikes, 73, said he hopes to continue his duties as mayor of Gwinnett's largest city while taking chemotherapy treatments.

"I will try to keep my full schedule," Sikes said. "I'm going to try my best to do that."

Sikes began chemotherapy Monday at Emory Hospital and was unable to attend a City Council meeting that night because traffic delayed his return from Atlanta.

Councilman David Rodriguez, who is mayor pro tem, filled in for Sikes and ran the meeting. Rodriguez, who is in his first term, took office 13 months ago.

Sikes has lived in Lawrenceville since 1945 and served 15 years on the City Council before becoming mayor of the county seat. He has been a strong backer of the city's downtown revitalization efforts, including bringing the Aurora Theatre from Duluth to Lawrenceville.

Lawrenceville has more than 26,000 residents and is the 22nd largest city in Georgia, according to Census estimates released last summer. It is also the largest city in Gwinnett, just ahead of Duluth.

Former Councilman Rick Johnson said peoples' thoughts and prayers are with Sikes, who works part-time at Tom M. Wages Funeral Home.

"Bobby has been a mentor to me in my personal life," Johnson said. "He's the reason I got into politics."

Although mayor is a part-time position, Sikes treats it as a full-time job, keeping office hours at City Hall and attending numerous meetings, said City Clerk Bob Baroni.

"He hasn't missed a day," Baroni said.

Leukemia is a blood disease where the body produces too many white blood cells.