28 August 1936 28 December 1997
Scottsdale City Councilman 1970-1978
Mayor of Scottsdale 1980-1996
"Serving the citizens of Scottsdale is the greatest job in the world."
"Mr. Scottsdale," Mayor Herb Drinkwater, served the citizens of Scottsdale 24 years, eight as City Councilman and 16 as Mayor. A one-man Chamber of Commerce; he never knew a stranger. He personified the city's "West's Most Western Town" image by dressing in Western suits, a bolo tie and cowboy boots. Everyone considered him a friend. One of Arizona's most popular politicians, he received a 96 percent approval. During his tenure, he transformed the city into an economic powerhouse with more jobs than workers.
In 1993, Scottsdale was "America's Most Livable City" by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which validated Mayor Drinkwater's vision that small town values could still exist and pull citizens together in a big city atmosphere.
His legacy includes Mayo Clinic Scottsdale, Tournament Club and the All-Arabian Horse Show. Voters showed their support by approving a bond issue to build a new Scottsdale Stadium and expand the Civic Center Library. He worked with the City Council to expand the Civic Center Mall with its fountains and bridge that connect City Hall to the Scottsdale Center for the Arts. Under his leadership, the
McDowell Sonoran Preserve was established.
His heroism is well documented. He saved a life using the Heimlich maneuver, changed tires for strangers, helped a policeman subdue a suspect, administered life-saving CPR to a man struck by lightning, and prevented a bull from charging into a group of children at a Parada del Sol Rodeo.
In 1959, he married his high school sweetheart, Jackie. She taught sixth grade in the Scottsdale School District, while he was an assistant business manager. He later owned Drinkwater's in Sundown Plaza. Their two children, Jamie and Mark, continued the Drinkwater legacy as community and business leaders.
Scottsdale's patriarch, Man of the Year, and Man of the Century, was known for his steadfast faith, solid handshake, effervescent personality, spirit and love for this city and its citizens.