Former City of Fremantle mayor and criminal defence lawyer Richard Utting has died at the age of 77.

Mr Utting, who also served in Vietnam with the Australian army, developed a love for the port city in the mid-1960s, when he got his first job at the R&I Bank.

This love was never far from his mind as he enjoyed success as a lawyer and radio announcer, before being elected City of Fremantle mayor between 1997-2001.

During his tenure, Mr Utting’s fiercely advocated for Fremantle and its residents at every turn – from ensuring the Fremantle Dockers Football Club remained at Fremantle Oval during the late 1990s, to ensuring residents were able to benefit from free inner-city parking.

In a statement, the City of Fremantle praised Mr Utting’s commitment to others.

“The moleskin-wearing mayor was known for his laconic leadership style,” it said.

“He welcomed robust, concise debate in the Chamber and championed consistency in decision-making.

“He had extensive high-ranking contacts on both sides of state politics, which he used to resolve many an issue in Freo’s favour.”

Following his stint, Mr Utting returned to life as a barrister – and also released a book called “Out of Sight: Reflections on an Accidental Life” seven years ago.