Funeral of A. Donald McEachin Includes Tribute

By Lauren Victoria Burke
NNPA Newswire Correspondent

HENRICO, VA – Honoring McEachin: A Virginian From the Old School. Recently, in Henrico, Va., at St. Paul’s Baptist Church, led by Rev. Dr. Lance Watson, a large number of federal and state leaders from past and present administrations, along with community activists, constituents and countless present and former staff employed in federal and local government connected to Virginia attended the funeral of the Honorable A. Donald McEachin.

Though he had been dealing with health challenges related to colorectal cancer in recent years, his death on Nov. 28 at only 61 years old was met with a surprise and sadness that traveled through Richmond and the political quarters in Virginia as well as north to Capitol Hill in Washington.

With 46 members of Congress sitting at stage right a row behind Gov. Glenn Youngkin, Secretary of the Commonwealth Kay Coles James and Attorney General Jason Miyares, a large crowd of McEachin’s friends, staff and admirers took part in a tribute to McEachin’s life of public service.

McEachin is only the third African American to be elected to Congress in the history of the Commonwealth of Virginia behind attorney and abolitionist John Mercer Langston and Congressman Bobby Scott.

The historic and social connections of McEachin’s legacy were heard in the words of many who spoke today. Their personal stories about McEachin provided a roadmap on how one individual can impact so many lives directly and indirectly through public service.

Rev. Tyrone Nelson, McEachin’s former law partner Donald Gee, Rev. Stephen Tillett, Del. Lamont Bagby, former Congressman Cedric Richmond, HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge and Rev. Dr. John Kinney paid rousing tribute to McEachin today from the stage. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Tim Kaine and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn also spoke.

In one of the most indelible moments of the afternoon, McEachin Constituent Services Director, Rev. Sylvia Copeland spoke on behalf of Team McEachin about all the special details that made working with the Congressman unique and memorable — from his love of popcorn, Subway’s steak and cheese and Mountain Dew to his devotion to community and family.

“We won’t forget how ADM persistently challenged the team to connect, build and maintain relationships with key community leaders ensuring our district’s performance aligned with his overall goals, we won’t forget,” Copeland said.

McEachin’s office was known for superior constituent service.

“It’s just a blessing to praise the Lord, hallelujah I’m free,” Sen. Tim Kaine sang at the end of his remarks. McEachin and Kaine’s relationship dated back to when the two were lawyers in their twenties.

“When I call Donald my good friend it’s not like the way we do sometimes on the floor of the House when you really don’t mean it,” said U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn.

“When I call Donald McEachin my good friend I really do mean it,” Clyburn added before relating several personal moments he enjoyed with McEachin.

Del. Bagby, a protege of McEachin’s, who is also Chair of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, told the audience that many of the judges and lawyers present in the room were likely here “because of Donald McEachin.” Bagby also relayed that the passage of a predatory lending bill he passed through the General Assembly was a particular point of pride because McEachin’s law firm assisted many clients on the issue.

“These stories are personal for me. Donald made it personal for each and every one of you here. I know he did something to encourage you and to help you. To give you a leg up. He was a good man, he was a good Delegate… but he was most in tune with his family,” Bagby said.

There were many notable attendees among the many members of Congress and others in attendance today in the endless rows of pews at St. Paul’s. We’ll name a few: House Minority Leader Don Scott, State Senator L. Louise Lucas, fmr. Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax, State Senator Jennifer McClellan, State Senator Creigh Deeds, State Senator Lionell Spruill, fmr. Del. Jay Jones and his father fmr. Del. Jerrauld Jones, January 6th Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, soon-to-be U.S. House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, incoming Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Steven Horsford, State Senator Dick Saslaw, Clerk of the Senate Susan Clarke Schaar and Republican Missouri Congressman Billy Long.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi received a standing ovation from the audience before she spoke after Pastor Watson complimented her leadership. The Virginia Union University Choir sang several songs that were unforgettable.

McEachin is survived by his wife Colette McEachin, who serves as the Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Richmond, and their children Joseph “Mac” McEachin, Elizabeth McEachin and Alexandra McEachin.

A. Donald McEachin’s life and legacy were relayed today in striking fashion by his friends and family. We won’t forget.

Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist and the host of the podcast BURKEFILE.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email