LANSING — Former state Rep. Gary Vanek, who served also served as a Royal Oak high school teacher and member of the state Liquor Control Commission, passed away Sept. 5. In response, Rep. Jim Ellison (D-Royal Oak) issued the following statement:

“It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of a very good friend, teacher and mentor yesterday. I first met Gary Vanek when I was a student at Kimball High School and he was my teacher. Gary went on to serve our local communities and state in the Michigan House of Representatives, and he became one of my close advisers and supporters when I began my own political life. Gary touched the lives of so many people from his years serving in our classrooms, on the House floor, on the Liquor Control Commission and in so many other capacities throughout our local communities. He will be missed by all who knew him. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”