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David Elder was a true community visionary and dedicated public servant. He retired as City Manager in November 2007, after serving the City for nearly 36 years. The Worthington community would not be what it is today without David’s leadership. Sadly, David passed away on February 23, 2019 surrounded by his loving family, wife Ann and daughters Stephanie and Lauren.
“David’s strong ethics, dedication and genuine caring for every member of the Worthington community have left a lasting legacy,” reflected City Council President Bonnie Michael. With his gentle demeanor, quick wit, and kind smile, David set an example and humbly served as a role model for all citizens in the City of Worthington. His impact is also felt in numerous other communities as he was a mentor to many who have gone on to careers in local, state, and federal government and work in service to their communities.
Upon learning of David’s passing, Worthington City Manager Matt Greeson shared, “Cancer has taken the most faithful of public servants and the City of Worthington has lost someone who had an immeasurable impact. He positively touched everyone he met and everything he worked on. Our heartfelt condolences go to Ann, Stephanie and Lauren, and their families. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree from Miami University, David began his career with the City of Worthington as an intern while working on his master’s degree at The Ohio State University. He was hired as a full-time Administrative Assistant in 1971 and served in a variety of capacities including Acting Finance Director, Acting Director of Recreation and Assistant City Manager before being appointed as Worthington’s sixth City Manager in 1981. He served 26 years as City Manager and was one of the longest serving City Managers in the state of Ohio upon his retirement. At the time of David’s retirement, former City Council President Lou Goorey stated, “David has always given more than 100-percent. He has exemplified loyalty and integrity and has gotten that from his staff.”
During his service as City Manager, David had overseen tremendous growth and a number of major projects including extensive renovations and expansion to the Worthington Community Center, the development and construction of the Griswold Senior Center, and construction of a new Municipal Building as well as major renovations to other public buildings. He administered capital improvement projects in all areas of the community including the downtown Central Business District and Village Green renovations and development of neighborhood parks and facilities. He also worked to develop strong relationships with the business community and many other community partners.
David was an active member of many organizations throughout his career and into retirement. These include the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, where he served on the board for over 20 years; the Central Ohio Health Care Consortium Board; the International City/County Management Association; the Ohio City/County Management Association, for which he served as president from 1991 – 1992; the Franklin County Emergency Management Association Board from 1989 – 2002; the Dublin-Worthington Rotary; and Maple Grove United Methodist Church.
He was recognized with several awards and honors for his work throughout the years. In 2001, David was honored by the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission for his dedication and service to central Ohio and the Worthington community with the William H. Anderson Award for Public Service. In 2000, he received the Career Achievement Award from the Ohio City/County Management Association and, again from the OCMA in 2007, was honored with the Career Development/Mentoring Award for being an outstanding role model and demonstrating and promoting excellence in local government. In 2009 he was recognized with the prestigious Distinguished Service Award from the International City/County Management Association.
David Elder will always be remembered as a true community leader who worked tirelessly to make Worthington a safe, clean, caring and financially stable community in which to live, work, learn, visit, and raise a family. But above all, David was a dear friend, husband, father, grandfather and kind soul. His memory will live on in Worthington for all future generations who call our treasured community home.
David Elder through the years (PDF)
Funeral arrangements are being handled by Rutherford Funeral Home. Find more information here.