William Lockridge, D.C. school board member, dies at 63
William O. Lockridge, a longtime Ward 8 political activist, education advocate and sitting member of the D.C. State Board of Education, died Wednesday evening at George Washington University Hospital. He was 63.
Natalie Williams, a spokeswoman for the Lockridge family, confirmed his death from respiratory failure, which came less than a week after Lockridge suffered a stroke while at home in the Washington Highlands neighborhood of Southeast D.C.
"William Lockridge was a true public servant who was forever in the trenches working for the community, particularly the people of Wards 7 and 8," said Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D).
"As a longtime member of the State Board of Education and the Board of Education, Mr. Lockridge was not afraid to speak up loudly when he thought anyone was trampling on the rights of the District's children," Gray said. "He was a familiar face in the Council Chamber, always showing up to give voice to those who did not speak for themselves."
Lockridge was first elected to the D.C. Board of Education in 1998, remaining on as the board was stripped of most of its power in 2007 and transformed into the State Board of Education. Throughout, he remained active in the Ward 8 Democrats and the D.C. Democratic State Committee with his wife Wanda. He is survived also by a daughter, son, four grandchildren, and his once-prominent uncle, R. Calvin Lockridge, who also served on the school board.
A native of Chicago, Lockridge moved to Washington in 1979, working as a teacher, coach and administrator for the D.C. Public Schools for more than 15 years before running for the school board, according to a campaign biography.
"William Lockridge was an ordinary guy who did extraordinary things," said D.C. Councilmember Marion Barry (D-Ward 8). "He fought for the children, the least, the last and the lost, and he would take on anybody, including myself, because he was a fighter."
Barry said Lockridge's wife, children, other family members and friends were at his side when he died around 5:30 p.m.
File photo by Kevin Clark/The Washington Post, 2007
| January 12, 2011; 6:43 PM ET
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