Gaithersburg Councilmember Henry Marraffa Dies After Battle with Cancer
The city of Gaithersburg is mourning the loss of City Councilmember Henry Marraffa, who died early today after a battle with cancer.
Gaithersburg Mayor Jud Ashman is remembering Marraffa as a colleague and a friend. Ashman released the following statement:
“It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of Henry Marraffa, a dear friend and colleague who served the residents of the City of Gaithersburg with great distinction for more than 20 years. Henry lost his battle with cancer early this morning.
“My fellow Council Members and I extend our sincerest condolences to Henry’s wife, Donna, and to his beloved family. Henry was, first and foremost, a family man who treasured his time with those he loved. Despite an often hectic schedule of public events and meetings, Henry always made time for his family, often bringing them to events and activities, an admirable blending of his public and private life.
“This is a tremendous loss for Gaithersburg. Henry served our community on the Board of Appeals, the Planning Commission, and for more than two decades as a member of the City Council, to which he was first elected in 1995. He worked to build Gaithersburg’s reputation and prominence on a national level, representing our city on the Board of Directors of the National League of Cities, and at the state level with the Maryland Municipal League.
“Henry’s great passion was economic development. In his decades of public service he was a consistent advocate for the concerns of businesses. A business owner himself, he championed issues that created a welcoming environment for companies both large and small. Gaithersburg’s success as an international hub for the biotechnology industry can be partly attributed to Henry’s advocacy for development and permitting policies that made our City such an attractive location.
“He was also passionate about innovative development, serving at a time when the concept of mixed use zoning was in its infancy. Dynamic communities such as Kentlands, Lakelands, Parklands, and Crown, with their mix of residential and commercial uses, blossomed in Gaithersburg with Henry playing an important role on a forward-looking City Council.
“Just as importantly, Henry was a collaborator. In Gaithersburg we pride ourselves on conducting our deliberations with mutual respect. Even at times when Henry was in the minority on an issue, his approach was civil and collegial – and it helped build a tradition that has kept our public discourse constructive and our city government productive.
“Henry’s type of passion and commitment is rare, and he will truly be missed, but he is leaving behind a powerful legacy. As his all-time favorite author, Louis L’Amour, wrote, ‘There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. Yet that will be the beginning.’
“On behalf of the Council, the staff, and the residents of Gaithersburg: may our Henry rest in peace, and may his memory be for a blessing.”
Ashman said the city flag has been lowered to half staff in memory of Marraffa. According to a statement on the city’s website, information about a memorial service will be released once details are finalized.
— City of Gaithersburg (@GburgMD) October 18, 2016