Former Maryland state Sen. David Harrington dies unexpectedly at age 68

The Maryland political and business communities were stunned and saddened last week by the unexpected death of former state Sen. David Harrington, as Washington Business Journal reports.

Known as a pivotal figure in economic growth and development in Prince George’s County, Harrington died suddenly Monday following a brief illness at the age of 68.

Prolific career

According to Maryland Matters, Harrington held several influential roles throughout his career, spending seven years as mayor of Bladensburg, six years as a member of the Prince George’s County City Council, and another three years as a state senator.

In addition, Harrington had spent more than 11 years serving as president and CEO of the Prince George’s County Chamber of Commerce, fostering opportunities for economic growth in the region and boosting the organization’s membership dramatically.

Just this past April, Harrington embarked on a new direction, taking the role of senior director of community relations and stakeholder development in the Mid-Atlantic region for healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente.

In the wake of Harrington’s untimely death, Kaiser Permanente issued a statement saying, “In his brief time with our organization, David made long-lasting contributions that will support our mission of improving health well into the future.”

“David’s kind, gentle, and thoughtful approach touched the hearts of many throughout his career and here at Kaiser Permanente,” the statement added.

Profound impact

Word of Harrington’s death prompted an outpouring of reminiscences and tributes, with former County Executive Rushern Baker III – a fellow graduate of Howard University – weighing in on the positive impact his friend had on his own life, as Maryland Matters further noted.

“He was the liberal arts student council president my freshman year in college. He spoke to our class and I went to talk to him about student government. He said, ‘You should run for sophomore class president,’ and I did. I later became the liberal arts student council president,” Baker fondly recalled.

A statement from the Prince George’s County Chamber of Commerce declared, “David was loved, respected, and admired throughout the region. The Chamber shares the sorrow of his family, the community, and businesses of Prince George’s County, as well as the entire public at his passing. We are heartbroken, but will continue, as an organization, to honor his mission of excellence, service, advocacy, policy advisory, mentorship, and leadership.”

State Sen. Malcolm Augustine remembered, “David was a good friend and mentor who served our community with distinction in a number of capacities. I am grateful for our friendship and his tremendous service. Sen. David C. Harrington will be missed, but never forgotten.”

In reflecting on Harrington’s passing, Baker added that even in death, his friend was rendering something of a service to his community, noting that the news sparked “several calls from people in our generation in doing health checkups,” and adding, “we have to make sure we call each other, especially African American men, on our health.”