Fred C. Morin, the man responsible for guiding the Fairfax Water Authority's growth and operations for more than 40 years, died on Sept. 26 in his Florida home, three years after stepping down from his position as the Authority's chairman. He was 82 years old.
Morin was the longest serving appointee to any Fairfax County board, having been a member of the Water Authority board from 1961 to 2004, spending more than 30 years as chairman of the Authority's board of directors.
"The Water Authority grew under his leadership," said Jeannie Bailey, a spokesperson for Fairfax Water. "When he started, we were producing about 2 million gallons of water a day, and we're currently at over 135 million daily." Service also expanded from 32,000 customers to over 1.3 million, a reflection of the area's booming population.
Morin was described as an open-minded man, one who "heard all sides of an issue, led discussion and spoke with the lead actors of a situation before making a decision," Bailey said.
For 35 years, Bill Evans worked with Morin on the Water Authority board and remembered his colleague as "a very dedicated person."
"He loved Fairfax Water," said Evans. "He spent more time on it than anyone had a right to expect him to."
Evans described Morin as "eminently fair," going out of his way to work with people to build a consensus.
When voting on any board matter, Morin was the last to decide. "No one ever knew how Fred was going to vote until everyone else voted," Evans said. "He let everyone else talk first. He didn't try to run over anyone who wanted to talk."
Among Morin's accomplishments, Evans said, was getting the approval for a "tertiary sewage treatment plant to flow into the Occoquan Reservoir. He got that passed over the objection of the head of the Water Authority and the outcome exceeded everyone's expectations ... it markedly improved the quality of water in the Occoquan watershed," he said.
PROOF OF MORIN'S steady leadership was evident in his election as chair of the Water Authority board "by his fellow board members for over 30 years," Evans said. "We have to give Fred credit for many of the things we've done under his leadership. This is one of the best-managed authorities in the United States, and we have the highest treated water available for the lowest cost in the D.C. area," he said.
Morin also served as one of the founding members of the Lee District Association, a group of homeowners and civic associations in that region, said Bobbie Johnson, a long-time friend.
"He was very devoted to it," said Johnson. "Fred was always very civic-minded and the Lee District Association was very near and dear to his heart. He was a soft-spoken, kind, gentle-hearted man."
Although Fairfax Water was always a top priority, Johnson said the Lee District Association and anything that happened in that area were "incredibly important" to Morin. "Fred was the association's first chairman. It was one way to bring the community and the supervisor together," she said.
Bobbie Johnson's husband, Joe, spent several years working with Morin on the Lee District Association, and remembers Morin as being "very passionate about his community as a whole."
Morin was a diligent worker striving "to provide a good environment for the citizens of the Lee District," said Joe Johnson. "He knew it was best to work in conjunction with development, not try to keep it out."
Working as an inspector in Arlington County, Supervisor Dana Kauffman (D-Lee District) remembered Morin as a "soft-spoken but very determined community leader" whose contributions to Fairfax County "are readily available any time a resident opens the water spout."
"Fred was a critical leader in the Water Authority," Kauffman said. "I remember reading about tertiary water treatment in college while he was experimenting with it here. He was always there for Fairfax Water and the Lee District."
Morin is survived by his wife of 59 years, Marie Morin, along with three children, Frederick C. Morin III, Cynthia Morin Pack and Michele Morin Leak, 10 grandchildren, sister Mildred Dovell and brother David Morin.