(Updated at 11:40 a.m.) Former Arlington County Board member Erik Gutshall has died after a battle with brain cancer.
Gutshall’s passing comes a month and a half after the initial word that he was hospitalized, and ten days after his sudden resignation from the County Board.
Gutshall’s wife Renee made the sad announcement on Facebook Thursday night.
It is with a broken heart that I share this news…. today the sweetest, most amazing man has lost his battle with brain cancer. It was only 8 weeks ago that Erik Gutshall received this diagnosis, leaving us too quickly but peacefully today surrounded in love by his family.
April 28, 1970 – April 16, 2020
We’ll share information about a memorial service once we’re beyond the current COVID-19 crisis.
Gutshall was first elected to the Board in November 2017, after serving on the county’s Planning Commission and Transportation Commission.
“Mr. Gutshall has supported strong public engagement and thoughtful planning to ensure that private development contributes to residents’ quality of life and that any potential negative impacts of development are mitigated,” according to his official county biography.
Flags outside county government headquarters in Courthouse will fly half-mast for seven days in tribute to Gutshall, the county said Friday in a press release that also included tributes from his colleagues.
“Erik was a visionary when it came to our community,” said Board Member Katie Cristol. “He understood how every neighborhood plan, park and bus route affected people’s lives and connected us to one another as fellow citizens. I feel so fortunate to have learned from and worked with Erik as a colleague and a friend and am devastated by the loss of an extraordinary Arlingtonian.”
As a County Board member, Gutshall served on the board of the Virginia Association of Counties and on the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Air Quality Committee.
Gutshall was a graduate of James Madison University and received a master’s degree from George Washington University. He was also the owner of a small local business, Clarendon Home Services, and the father of three daughters.
Earlier this year, Gutshall outlined his priorities for Arlington in 2020. He said that this was a year for Arlington to “level up” with the continued arrival of Amazon’s HQ2, a “pivotal, definitive event” in the county’s history. With it, however, would come challenges — like housing affordability — that need to be addressed for the benefit of all residents, he said.
“Today is proof that even a distant future will one day come to pass,” Gutshall said, in conclusion. “I’m honored to work on this next level with my amazing colleagues, talented Manager and his brilliant staff, and the passionate citizens who I know care about this community as much as each of us.”
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