In Memoriam: Walter A. Scheiber

Oct 9, 2014

Washington Post Obituary: Walter Scheiber, who led local Council of Governments for 25 years, dies at 92 

Update: A memorial service will be held at COG on Saturday, October 25 at 2pm. A reception will follow.

Walter A. Scheiber, the first executive director of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and the leader responsible for developing the programs and significant regional influence that mark the organization today, passed away on Wednesday, October 8.

He was an extraordinary leader and a friend to many across the region.

Mr. Scheiber served as COG’s executive director for 25 years before retiring in January 1991. He was credited with using his considerable intellect and persuasive gifts to bring together the area’s elected officials to work on the cleanup of the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers, the allocation of federal housing funds, mutual aid, and countless other regional issues.  His efforts helped convince Congress to support the construction of the Metro transit system. 

Beyond our metropolitan area, he was at the national forefront in the field of regionalism and an expert on inter-governmental relations. He was instrumental in the founding of the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) and was very active with the International City and County Management Association (ICMA), including serving as its President. It was his vision that made possible the building COG co-owns with ICMA at 777 North Capitol.

Respected for his deft handling of highly charged municipal issues, and helping create consensus among local, state and federal bodies in the D.C. area, Mr. Scheiber received many honors. He was the recipient of the Winston Churchill Fellowship of the English Speaking Union in 1973.  He was named a “Washingtonian of the Year” in 1974, and was selected as the outstanding local government career official in the United States and Canada in 1976 by the honorary society of Lambda Alpha.

Mr. Scheiber went on to receive the Distinguished Service and Management Innovation Award from ICMA and the National Intergovernmental Award from National Association of Regional Councils. He was also named a lifetime member of the National Academy of Public Administration, the honorary society of public administrators in the country.

He is survived by his wife of 66 years, the author Barbara Gair Scheiber, two daughters, two sons and a dozen grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

A memorial service will be held Saturday, October 25 at 2 p.m. at the Council of Governments in the third floor Walter A. Scheiber Board Room. 

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