Richard Leibach, long-time member and former vice chairman of the Alexandria Planning Commission, died unexpectedly Monday at his home. His body was discovered Tuesday, Feb. 20, by his wife Karen upon her return from a cruise during which they had kept in touch by e-mail "as we always did," she said.
"He had suffered from a number of illnesses over the past several years," she said.
Leibach's initial appointment to the commission was on January 27, 1987. He was elected by his colleagues to be vice chairman in 2001 and served in that position until 2005 when he nominated his successor John Komoroske to fulfill that role on the Commission. He decided not to seek another appointment at the end of 2006.
At his final meeting — January 4, 2007 — Leibach was honored with a proclamation from Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille for his 20 years of "outstanding service to the City of Alexandria and its Planning Commission." He received a standing ovation from his colleagues on the Commission and the audience filling Council Chambers in City Hall.
In his proclamation, Euille noted Leibach's "long-standing interest in and commitment to affordable housing" and his efforts "to enhance the provision for affordable housing through the planning and development review processes." It also referenced Leibach's participation on the ad hoc Washington Street Task Force and Open Space Steering Committee.
"Rich has earned the respect and gratitude of numerous civic organizations and citizens for his contributions to planning in Alexandria," the proclamation stated.
"Richard has been the epitome of what volunteer service is all about," Euille added.
For his part, Leibach, a Pennsylvania native, told those assembled in Council Chambers that night, "I could never have achieved in Pittsburgh what I have achieved here. Alexandria is a very open city. It has been an honor to serve this city and its citizens."
He was recently honored with a retirement party in his honor and the Federation of Civic Associations was planning to present him with a plaque at their next meeting recognizing his many years of volunteer service.
Funeral arrangement were in the planning stage at press time.