Local Commentary

Remembering Daniel X. Sze

Not again! With deepest grieving, we join all who knew him in profoundly lamenting the passing of City of Falls Church Council member Daniel X. Sze this week. He joins the equally appreciated and impactful Barbara Cram as amazingly valued and cherished leaders of the Falls Church community who passed away in the last two months, Cram on June 2 and Sze on July 27.

Although their personalities were different, they had much in common, mainly their love affairs with the City of Falls Church and its people that were accented by a certain happy glint in the corner of their eyes. Dan was more low key than Barbara, but no less enthusiastic or passionate about his role on the F.C. City Council.

He is remembered by many for his commitment to the introduction and execution of challenging environmental standards applied to any new project in the City. But he was also committed to social justice, affordable housing and fairness and compassion in government and in life, and he brought a unique expertise on matters of economic development, something that made an enormous difference when votes on the approval of development projects in the City came down to split votes on the Council.

It will be very difficult for the remaining members of the City Council to find someone to fill his shoes on the Council by appointment ahead of his spot being up for election in November 2021. This is a very tough time for the City, given the fallout from the pandemic on the local economy and the social health of the City. His insight would have been a source of centering and profound common sense as well as solid innovation going forward in the coming months and it is almost frightening to contemplate the City Council facing the difficult challenges ahead without the benefit of his steady and trustworthy wit-laced wisdom.

Falls Church has been fortunate to have the benefit of his considerable talents that were recognized by agencies of the federal government. He served the U.S. Department of Energy including its Rebuild America initiative focused on energy efficiency where he served since 1991 and the Department of Defense, including at the Trident Submarine Base at Kings Bay, Georgia. He held a commission as a State Department Foreign Service Officer, playing a key role in the reopening of the U.S. mission in Havana.

A resident of the City of Falls Church since 1988 and having completed three decades of service to the federal government in 2012, he served on the Falls Church City Council from 2006 – 2010 and 2014 to the present, also served on the Economic Development Authority and Board of Zoning Appeals.

As with all citizens of the world, those of the City of Falls Church owe a great debt of gratitude to this modest and unassuming yet principled leader for contributing so much to the wellbeing of this place.