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Posted at 6:43 PM ET, 01/12/2011

William Lockridge, D.C. school board member, dies at 63

By Mike DeBonis

William LockridgeWilliam 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

By Mike DeBonis  | January 12, 2011; 6:43 PM ET
Categories:  The District  
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Posted by: | January 12, 2011 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Mr. William Lockridge was a trail blazer for justice, a champion for children and the people of the District of Columbia.

Robert Vinson Brannum

Posted by: robert158 | January 12, 2011 8:29 PM | Report abuse

I am deeply saddened to hear of William's passing. He was a very special person and we had become good friends over the years.
I truly believe that he was a gift from God that came into the world of the children of the District at exactly the time they needed him most. He was a positive influence on my life as well as many of his students and peers.
The Bible says that "Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted." I pray that God will bless all of us and give us the strength to carry on the struggle to educate the young people of Wards 7 & 8 without him. I give thanks for having had the opportunity to know him and count him among my good friends.
God Bless all of the family and thank you for sharing William with the residents of the District of Columbia. We all should feel truly blessed.
Juan in Ward 7

Posted by: jmanthom | January 13, 2011 10:50 AM | Report abuse

How we say goodbye to what we had?
The good times that made us laugh
Outweigh the bad.

We thought we'd get to see forever
But forever's gone away
we don't know where this road
Is going to lead
All we know is where we've been
And what we've been through.

If we get to see tomorrow
we hope it's worth all the wait

And we'll take with us the memories
To be our sunshine after the rain
It's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.
Goodbye Bro.Williams
Shoe shop boyz

Posted by: shoeshopboyz | January 13, 2011 11:03 AM | Report abuse

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