Arlington County Board Vice-Chair Erik Gutshall served our community as a volunteer, a youth soccer coach, a small business owner, a Planning Commissioner and a County Board Member. His life of community service was cut short on April 16, 2020 when Erik died after a brief battle with brain cancer, just days before his 50th birthday.
Erik was elected to the County Board in November 2017. He quickly made his mark as an advocate for sustainability, affordable housing, inclusion and development that was both sustainable and of benefit to the entire community. He had a knack, from the dais during Board Meetings, of asking the questions that constituents most wanted to be answered.
At its April 18, 2020 Meeting, the County Board observed a moment of silence before sharing their thoughts about Erik’s passing and about the life he had lived. They recalled his devotion to the Arlington community, his quick wit and sense of humor, and most of all, his love for his family. They offered their sympathy and support to his wife, Renee, and their three children.
In the words of Board Chair Libby Garvey, “We are heartbroken. Erik loved being a Board member and loved Arlington. His death is a loss for us all, but especially for his family. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
The founder and president of Clarendon Home Services, Erik became an active community volunteer shortly after he and his wife moved to the Lyon Park neighborhood in 1995. He served on the Board of Doorways for Women and Families and on the Facilities Committee of Western Presbyterian Church. He coached youth soccer, and on the PTA. All three of his children attend Arlington Public Schools.
As chair of the Planning Commission, and during his service on the Transportation Commission, Erik supported strong public engagement and thoughtful planning to ensure that private development contributes to residents’ quality of life and that any potential negative impacts of development are mitigated.
During his time on the County Board, Erik served as Vice-Chair of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government’s (MWCOG) Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee (MWAQC). He also served as a Director of the Virginia Association of Counties, (VaCO), and chaired their Economic Development and Planning Steering Committee.
Erik earned his Bachelor of Science in Political Science from James Madison University and his Master of Arts in Environmental Resource Policy from The George Washington University. He was a member of Leadership Arlington Class of 2009.