Monday, April 27, 2009

Civic activist Wayne Goldstein dies - Gazette

Was headed to testify at hearing

by Janel Davis | Staff Writer | Monday, April 27, 2009

Longtime civic activist Wayne Goldstein died of a heart attack Monday morning in Rockville on the way to testify in a hearing before the county's Board of Appeals, family members said Monday afternoon.

Family members and friends reported that Goldstein, 56, was scheduled to appear for the hearing at 9:30 a.m. but never showed up. A card belonging to his cousin, a dentist in the county, was found in his pocket. A call to Goldstein's cousin set off a round of calls to family members, said Goldstein's mother Terry, who lives in Chevy Chase.

Goldstein was reportedly taken to Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville.

"They wouldn't tell me anything over the phone, but once I arrived they did let me see him and he looked just like he was sleeping," Terry Goldstein said. "I'm devastated. That's my oldest son. It's terrible. It's a shock."

Goldstein was a former president of the county's Civic Federation, a current columnist in The Montgomery County Sentinel newspaper and a consistent advocate for community issues throughout the county.

On the morning of his death, Goldstein was scheduled to testify about Suburban Hospital's planned expansion.

"If ever you can say someone went out with his boots on, Wayne was doing what he loved right up to the very end," said Drew Powell, former executive director of Neighbors PAC, and a fellow civic activist.

Wearing his traditional flat cap and ponytail, Goldstein had become a fixture at County Council and community meetings.

"I knew Wayne as a close friend, a fierce defender of the environment and historic preservation," said Steve Kanstoroom, also a civic activist and past County Council candidate. "He selflessly gave 110 percent to improve the quality of life for county residents, often for people he had never met, never asking anything in return."

Hours after his death, the civic community was lamenting his passing.

"He was a huge figure in the preservation and advocacy realm and there are going to be huge shoes to fill. It's really a sad day for the community," said Eileen Sobeck, vice president of Historic Takoma Inc. "He really was fearless about taking on issues that he felt strongly about. … He was everywhere all the time."

County Council President Philip M. Andrews called Goldstein a "pillar of the civic community."

"It's a terrible loss to his family and to the people of this county. He was a strong advocate for the public interest," Andrews said.

In addition to his civic duties, Goldstein was also well known for his horticultural work. He operated a landscaping business, and grew extensive gardens at his home in Kensington.

In 2008, during his time as president, Wayne Goldstein received the Star Cup from the Montgomery County Civic Federation for outstanding public service. Goldstein had served as an officer in the Kensington Heights Citizens Association. He had participated on planning and public safety committees as a member of the civic federation and had served as the first vice president from 2004 to 2006, then as president from 2006 through 2008.

In addition to working with the federation, Goldstein has served on the Montgomery Preservation Inc., a group that promotes and lobbies for historic preservation.

In addition to his mother, Goldstein is survived by two younger brothers who live in New York and Minnesota. Funeral arrangements were being made with Danznsky-Goldberg Memorial Chapel.

Staff Writers C. Benjamin Ford, Douglas Tallman, Sean R. Sedam and Marcus Moore contributed to this report.

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