DRACUT — Former Dracut Selectman Michael Blatus, known as a frequent defender of “the little guy,” died early Saturday morning after battling cancer, according to state Rep. Colleen Garry, a longtime friend.

Blatus, who had cancer, celebrated his 85th birthday surrounded by family and friends this past Oct. 25, but had been ill for months.

“He always had this attitude that you had to help the little guy,” said Garry, who knew Blatus for decades, dating back to when he was a town assessor and Garry, not yet a state representative, worked at Town Hall.

Blatus leaves six children and numerous grandchildren.

Garry said her friend remained interested in politics even in illness, often watching CNN or Fox News.

“He was a fighter to the very end,” Garry said. “He was a strong 85-year-old.”

Blatus was a veteran of the Korean War who also served on the Dracut Water Supply District board and formerly commanded the town’s American Legion post, Post 315.

Garry said the Board of Selectmen recently voted to name a small piece of town-owned property near Town Hall after Blatus, and that Blatus was pleased by plans to install a gazebo on the property.

Fundraising for the gazebo project is underway, and anyone interested in donating can make out a check to the Town of Dracut and deliver it to Garry, she said.

The Dracut Democratic Town Committee is also planning to create an annual award in Blatus’ honor, she said.

Garry said Blatus taught her to not lose focus on the real value of holding political office.

“He just emphasized what politics is all about — helping people,” she said.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

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