Local Commentary

Remembering Dan Sze

The late Falls Church Councilman Dan Sze was honored at a ceremony delayed by the pandemic since his passing in July 2020 at the F.C. City Hall Monday that included the dedication of a ginkgo tree planted on City Hall grounds in his honor. Sze’s wife, Elizabeth, appears in the center of this photo in a red coat. (Photo: News-Press).

Postponed from the July 2020 time of his death due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a special ceremony honoring the late Falls Church City Councilman Dan Sze was held at the F.C. City Hall Monday featuring remarks by Mayor David Tarter, City Manager Wyatt Shields and others. The event, attended by Sze’s wife Elizabeth and family members, began in the lobby of the newly-renovated City Hall that Sze played a major role in preparing, being held in front of a bronze plaque dedicated to the 2019 completed renovation that included Sze’s name, along with fellow Council member Letty Hardi, also inscribed in Chinese script. Next to that plaque is a marker of the environmentally-sensitive LEED certification for which the building qualified. The second part of the event involved folks moving out to a green patch on City Hall grounds where a newly-planted ginkgo tree was dedicated with a small plaque to honor Councilman Sze’s achievements and legacy.

In remarks remembering Sze, Mayor Tarter said that Sze “was a true Renaissance man: Ivy League educated, a trained architect who served in the U.S. foreign service. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of what seemed like everything but especially technology. He had a keen intellect and wasn’t afraid to think big. He had an easy laugh but did not suffer fools lightly.”

The mayor added, “He was a strident supporter of the environment but also had probably the largest collection of ‘muscle cars’ in the City and he loved to drive them around, quickly, especially his BMW and one of the greatest American cars ever made, the 1967 Shelby GT500 Cobra Mustang. I think that I have just got the color back in my knuckles.”

Tarter added, “Dan was a passionate supporter of the City. He served on the Economic Development Authority, was vice chair of the Board of Zoning Appeals, on the executive committee of the Citizens for a Better City. He covered just about all the letters the City has to offer. He served on the City Council for 10 years and he was a regional and state leader, chaired the Council of Governments and Virginia Municipal League committees and was respected all over.

“In Arlington, flags were flown at half-mast on his passing. It is especially fitting that we are in front of the LEED plaque as he was a tireless advocate for the environment. He almost single-handedly raised the bar on environmental issues here in the City. Just a few years ago we were talking about whether the Mt. Daniel Elementary School addition could be LEED accredited, and we now have a net zero ready high school almost complete. Through his leadership, new projects are now LEED Gold, among the highest number in the region including with vehicle recharging stations and provision for solar panels on roofs of new projects and LED street lights. We give thanks for Dan and his service to our community. We miss him dearly.”