Saturday, March 31, 2007

Dave Mabie's Retirement Dinner

The Mrs. and I attended the retirement dinner for David C. Mabie, Clerk of the Circuit Court for Prince William County/Manassas/Manassas Park, last evening, held at the Clubs at Quantico.

It was a bittersweet occasion. Dave Mabie is, quite simply, one of the finest men in public service in Prince William County, and when his retirement becomes official, at 12:01 a.m., tomorrow morning, Prince William County will say goodbye to one of the most selfless, tireless, and respected officials in the County. Those of us who have had the privilege of working with him in local politics over the years --- as I have noted before, my lawpractice does not bring me to the County courthouse --- will say goodbye to a good and loyal friend.

His long years of public service were well-reflected in the attendees (probably about 200, but who knows?). At least one Circuit Court judge was in attendance, along with numerous local elected officials, political activists, and simply friends. Tom Davis spoke, along with Corey Stewart, the mayors of Manassas and Manassas Park, and Delegate Scott Lingamfelter. All three of the Mabie children gave touching speeches, and his ministers, both past and present, discussed Dave's strong and ever-present Christian faith. Present were Delegates Michele McQuigg, Bob Marshall, and Jackson Miller.

Dave and Copper Mabie (and those who know them always speak of them together) have been planning this farewell for some time, and while their friends are happy that they are opening this new chapter in their lives together, their departure leaves a void in the County and in its GOP which will not easily be filled.

Dave's 1991 election as Clerk of the Circuit Court marked the first time in living memory --- perhaps ever --- that a Republican was elected as a constitutional officer (Clerk; Sheriff; Commonwealth's Attorney) in PWC. And while a devoted public servant, having been among the first group of County police officers upon formation of the County Police in 1970, Dave was also an active and devoted Republican. He worked hard for the local party, and was always willing to provide wise counsel and support for those he numbered among his friends. The Youngs were fortunate enough to count Dave and Copper as friends, and Dave played a significant role in my decision to seek the Dumfries District School Board seat in 1995 and 1997. Dave was kind enough to write strong --- indeed, effusive --- letters of support for my candidacy, and while I did not prevail, it was the support of men and women like Dave and Copper which make it impossible for me to consider those efforts a defeat. It was in gestures like this, both large and small --- when their young grandson outgrew his clothes, Dave and Copper brought a box of them along to a Labor Day picnic, so our son could get some use out of them --- that the Mabies demonstrated their commitment to their friends.

It is the friendship of people like the Mabies which allow me to put in perspective the plaintive whinings of pseudo-Con wannabes, political hangers-on and opportunists, vile and vicious hacks, and cowardly, sniveling, snarling anonymous weasels.

Unlike too many in politics, Dave was the genuine article.

That is perhaps why it was no surprise that his unsuccessful rival for the 2003 GOP nomination to run against Senator Chuck Colgan --- current GOP nominee Bob FitzSimmonds --- was among the celebrants. It is a measure of both men that there was no animosity in Bob when, as a Potomac News political columnist, I made clear my support for Dave in that race. We could and did remain friends because Bob understood that I possessed good and sufficient reasons to support Dave. It was a measure of Dave that he respected my rather public disagreements with a few of his positions in that race.

He will be missed.

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