Coun Charlie Wraith MBE, a former Mayor of Barnsley who represents the Cudworth ward, was elected in 1974 but is battling terminal oesophagus cancer and will retire.
He will receive a distinguished service award at Thursday’s full council meeting, it was confirmed this week.
“I’d like to thank all who have given me the privilege of being a ward councillor by voting for me over the years,” Charlie told the Chronicle.
“It has been my life for half a century and there’s been so many highlights, and I was honoured to have my beloved late wife, Marilyn, beside me for the majority of those.
“My proudest moment was receiving my MBE from the Queen in 2013 but the wonderful people I’ve met and the places I’ve been all stand out.”
During his time as a councillor, Cudworth saw a number of improvements, with Birkwood and Churchfield schools extended, and a new school, Cherrydale, built on Royston Road.
A new fire station was built at West Green, as well as Cudworth and West Green bypass being constructed, and a large building containing 36 start-up units for businesses was created on Snydale Road.
Many projects and various committees were supported with grants, including the haven for wildlife, Carlton Marsh nature reserve, which boasts well over 100 species of bird, an abundance of wildflowers, and many species of butterfly.
All parks in Cudworth were also improved under Coun Wraith’s guidance, along with a new health centre on Carlton Street and three blocks of flats - Somerset Court, Rose Tree Court and Westhaven were replaced with bungalows.
Coun Sir Steve Houghton, leader of Barnsley Council and a fellow Cudworth ward member, added: “Charlie’s contribution to Cudworth and Barnsley has been outstanding.
“His knowledge and expertise on both planning and licensing services in particular will be greatly missed, as will his work in the local community.
“His retirement is a huge loss to the council and to Cudworth and I shall miss his good counsel.
“The commitment and determination he has shown in public life will, I am sure, serve him well in his current health challenges.
“A huge thanks to Charlie on behalf of Cudworth and Barnsley is well-deserved.”