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Montgomery Council Member Praisner Dies at 76

Montgomery County


Donald Praisner. (Carl Iseli)

Montgomery Councilmember Donald Praisner, 76, died this afternoon after undergoing surgery for colon cancer.

Praisner, a Democrat, won his Eastern County seat in a special election last spring after the death of his wife, longtime council member Marilyn Praisner. A retired CIA analyst and recruiter, Praisner campaigned vowing to carry on the legacy of his wife as a fiscal watchdog and an advocate for slowing development.

His wife had served on the county council for five terms and 17 years, until she died in Feb. 1, 2008, from complications following heart surgery. Four months after her death, her husband was sworn in to take over her seat.

But Praisner served only a few months before he too was hospitalized in January after several weeks of stomach problems. He was diagnosed with colon cancer and on Monday underwent surgery for it. He died at 1:45 p.m. today at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, according to county officials.

"We are all deeply saddened by Don's passing," County Council President Phil Andrews said in a statement today. "Our hearts go out to his family, his friends, his staff and all of those in the County who came to know and respect him. At a time when Don could have stayed in retirement following Marilyn's death, he decided that it was important to not only carry on her legacy in government, but also to make sure that the needs and wishes of the residents of District 4 were well represented. We will all miss him and his clear voice on important issues."

County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) said in a statement, "I feel a deep sense of personal loss at the passing of Don Praisner. He was a steadfast supporter and friend of mine. He lived a life marked by integrity, commitment to excellence, and duty...We will miss his leadership and his activism."

From the council's statement on Praisner's death:

"A resident of Montgomery County since 1947, Councilmember Praisner was a graduate of Blair High School. He attended the first class of Montgomery College and graduated from the University of Maryland.

After serving three years in the Army, including one year studying Chinese at the Army Language School, he went to work for the Central Intelligence Agency. He worked at the CIA for 30 years as an analyst, manager and recruiter.

Councilmember Praisner is survived by three grown children and four grandchildren.

Councilmember Praisner was active in community affairs before running for the Council. He previously served as vice president of the Calverton Citizens Association; president and board member of CHI, Inc, a non-profit organization that provides services to more than 1,000 individuals with severe disabilities; and as a member of the Colesville Strawberry Festival Board. An avid and skilled golfer, he served on the board of directors of First Tee of Montgomery County, the local chapter of a national organization that seeks to introduce children to golf at a young age.

Councilmember Praisner also served on the joint community/federal government committee working on relocating the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to the White Oak area. He was the Democratic precinct chair for Precinct 05-12.

The nine-member County Council is composed of five members elected to represent defined districts and four at large members. Mr. Praisner's term expires in December 2010, like that of all Councilmembers."

By Anne Bartlett  |  January 30, 2009; 2:51 PM ET
Categories:  Montgomery County  
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This news is deeply saddening because Don was a man who was a true intellectual who cared depply about his conunty and country. He was passionate about enhancing the life ope people with disabilities and perserving Montgomery County qaulity of life. Most importanly he was a really good guy.

Posted by: Washpost38 | January 30, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

This is just terrible news...

Posted by: Explorer1 | January 30, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Our most sincere condolences and commiserations go out to the family and friends of the Praisners. Their lifetimes of service to the community are deeply respected.

Posted by: thardman | January 30, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

This is very sad news...we offer our condolences to his family and friends.

Posted by: laurabunny | January 30, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

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