Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cary Lamari on the Passing of Stuart Rochester

By Cary Lamari.

My condolences go out to the family and friends of Stuart Rochester.

Stuart Rochester died Wednesday, July 29. The funeral service will be tomorrow, Friday, July 31 at 11 am at Tikvat Israel Congregation, 2200 Baltimore Road, in Rockville. Interment at Judean Memorial Gardens in Olney.

Stuart Rochester was a colleague and a fierce and extremely intelligent advocate for the people of Montgomery County but even more so for the residents of Burtonsville and the East County.

I have known Stuart for many years. My first interaction with Stuart was dealing with the ICC. It’s no big secret Stuart vehemently opposed the Northern Alignment for the ICC. Stuart felt the huge trucks that traverse 198 each day destroyed the community of Burtonsville and Spencerville and Stuart wasn’t going to let that simply pass. Stuart also argued that there was inequity between the eastern part of Montgomery County and the Western side (Potomac). He felt we were shortchanged with respect to money for education and infrastructure. He felt we received the challenges but did not get the resources to address those challenges. As only one example the schools on the Western Side were always in top shape while we had to wait for any improvements with numerous portables. Paint Branch High school was a prime example.

We have lost so many valuable community leaders recently that Montgomery County will most certainly suffer. These people are the core to the making of good government. Stuart was the most articulate civic activist I know. During my term as President of the Civic Federation, Stuart was kind enough to be our representative for the Print Media. I remember Stuart enjoyed writing op-editorials for the Gazette and really loved taking on the Gazette Editor Chuck Lyons. I remember feeling they were two sides to the same coin but Stuart was always the one more capable and equipped with his sharp wit.

I worked with Stuart on many issues facing Montgomery County and he supported my campaign this past special election. I will miss Stuart’s support and passive guidance. Stuart never was one to be in front of the camera, he always felt easier behind the scenes making sure the “i” was dotted and the “t’s” were crossed. On the last Montgomery County Civic Federation meeting he reported on the Zoning rewriting committee and most especially the new commercial mixed-use zone. He cautioned us that this zone could, if not monitored, be deleterious to Montgomery County. He was on the exemption committee and reminded all of us that the devil is in the detail. Stuart’s guidance was never misplaced with me.

Stuart will be missed and my prayers are with his wife Shelly, his kids and his grandkids. I hope they know how much we in Montgomery County respected and appreciated Stuart.

Cary Lamari