Arlington, VA

(Updated at 3:40 p.m.) Phil Keating, a prominent figure in Arlington civic life, died suddenly last night at the age of 51.

Keating, an attorney with the Arlington firm of Bean, Kinney & Korman, just finished his term as the 2010 chairman of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce.

A New Jersey native, Keating earned his B.A. from Rutgers. He received his J.D., with honors, from George Washington University.

As an attorney, Keating represented business clients from individual entrepreneurs to large multi-national companies.

“He was just one of the best people you know,” said Leo Fisher, a managing partner at Bean, Kinney & Korman. “He was a very positive person, he had a great sense of humor… it was a pleasure to work with him.”

“We are absolutely stunned in disbelief,” said Takis Karantonis, director of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, who worked with Keating on business issues related to the Pike. “This is a real loss for our community… he was a real civic champion.”

In addition to his work with the Chamber, Keating was a member of Arlington County’s Community Energy and Sustainability Task Force.

“It’s a little surreal that he’s not here today,” said 2010 county board chairman Jay Fisette, who ran in to Keating while eating lunch at a restaurant in Courthouse yesterday. “Our chairmanships coincided, and I got a chance to know him pretty well… He was very committed to the community as a whole, and that was reflected in his life and in his interactions.”

“Phil was filled with humor and compassion, and was a consensus-builder,” said Sun Gazette Managing Editor Scott McCaffrey, who worked with Keating as a member of the Chamber’s Executive Committee. “[He] used his year as chairman to push the Chamber of Commerce to continue as an engaged partner in government and economic affairs in Arlington and the region.”

Keating was married with three children, including a daughter who recently graduated from college, a son who’s an undergraduate at UVA and a daughter who’s a junior in high school.

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