Mitch Van Yahres Dies

Former Delegate Mitch Van Yahres died Friday due to complications from lung surgery. He was 81. Van Yahres was a state delegate from the 57th District for 24 years before retiring in 2005. He was also a Charlottesville City councilor for six years and mayor for two, and founded the the Van Yahres Tree Company in 1949.

Before retiring, Mr. Van Yahres had these sage words for those seeking his seat: "They should run their own campaigns as they feel they should," he told the Hook in 2005. "Be themselves. Don't try to be too political– political in the negative sense." Amen.

Of course, the Hook had the pleasure of covering Mr. Van Yahres' political life over the years. Here are a few choice selections (Note: Bob Gibson also has a fine piece on his blog) :

Leaf-ing office: Mitch says goodbye

Mitch: Elder statesman– oak and maple, too

St. Mitch: Casting a long shadow

No fade: Van Yahres runs again


What a great man!! My life is richer for having known Mitch! My blessings to his family and friends.

I am sad to hear of the passing of a Charlottesville icon, former House of Delegate member and Charlottesville mayor, Mitchell Van Yahres.
A formidable candidate in all of his races, Van Yahres, made many important political decisions that have proved him to be a visionary. Support of the downtown mall, in essence, saved downtown as one of our city's major shopping areas.
Charlottesville was blessed to have him on City Council and General Assembly.
My deepest sympathy and condolences to his wife and family.

Sherman R. White, Sr.

Van was one of the kindest and best people I have ever known. He was also my uncle and when I was a kid, I looked up to him like a father when mine died when I was 13 years old. He always told me to tackle things head-on and not to let them fester. I will never forget him as being one of the finest men I have ever known.

Very sad. If only our other elected officials were half as earnest...