October 22, 2021

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Elizabeth Whiting: Loudoun’s Unflappable City Lawyer

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Elizabeth D. Whiting, a dean of Loudoun’s lawful community, died Sept. 8 surrounded by spouse and children at her Leesburg residence. She was 72.

Regarded for her authorized acumen and vast understanding of municipal legislation in Virginia, Whiting experienced garnered numerous accolades for her contributions to daily life in Loudoun, from her services as the municipal attorney to various Loudoun’s towns, to her longtime assistance for and stewardship of neighborhood businesses, such as the Loudoun Museum.

She was born May 12, 1949, in Arizona. She moved usually as a youngster since of her father’s career in the U.S. Military, together with residing three a long time in Germany and a few several years in Japan.

Right after graduating regulation university at the College of Virginia, she began her storied vocation in municipal legislation doing work as an assistant county attorney in Prince William County in 1977. She was employed by County Lawyer Terry Emerson and then-Deputy County Attorney John Foote, both members of the legislation school’s course a 12 months forward of her.

Foote recalls her as a standout in the class—both for her authorized talents and her placing visual appeal, with long hair under her waistline frequently in pigtails.

“We were being in diverse classes and so did not know every other effectively, but UVA was a fairly modest legislation faculty in all those days, and you could not miss out on her, Foote reported. “When she came to us to perform, Terry, who experienced been course of ’74 with me, and I understood she was the a person to opt for and we ended up never ever disappointed.”

When Foote took about as county attorney in 1982, Whiting was promoted as his deputy.

“She was generally a continual hand and a completely ready a single as very well. She was a to start with-price attorney in a county in frequent flux,” Foote mentioned. “She coped with her difficulties with grit and wit and a constant readiness to have a tendency toward kindness. She became a legend between area federal government attorneys, and even if our careers diverged, our mutual affection did not.”

Whiting fashioned her everyday living partnership with a different UVA legislation faculty grad, her spouse Edward J. Finnegan. Even though she was supporting to guideline Prince William County by its advancement problems, Finnegan was executing the exact in Loudoun County, as assistant county attorney from 1976 to 1980 and as county lawyer right up until he left the position 1989 to be a part of the Shaw Pittman regulation organization and create an business office in Leesburg. He died in 1993 of liver most cancers at the age of 44.

Adhering to his demise, the treatment of their two adopted sons became Whiting’s focus, and, they would say, frequently her most significant challenges.

Jim and Thomas Finnegan stated she was the most generous human being they’d at any time known—a tribute to which quite a few who knew her would attest.

“She and my father adopted us not realizing any relatives history or seriously something about us,” Jim stated. After their father’s dying, Jim claimed he and his brother “took a downhill switch, prompted a good deal of problems, wreaked havoc, and she hardly ever swayed. She was always there, always supportive.”

That was a trait Whiting confirmed on a lot of occasions, often up for some enjoyable and demonstrating her very well-identified feeling of humor.

Jim also remembered his mom displaying up at his elementary college, aiding in the classroom or with a particular project—even turning up dressed as a clown. She and her sons and five grandchildren enjoyed doing many points together—including traveling, hiking, cooking, and film-viewing.

Thomas claimed his mother taught him so several classes that he’d don’t forget without end, recalling she was “so open, so accepting.” And even when she had to discipline her sons, she did it forthrightly but “in the nicest probable way.” She also taught them how vital it was to by no means lie but to do the right point.

That is the uncomplicated advice Whiting also gave to the city governments she suggested right after leaving her Prince William County publish. In Loudoun, these bundled Lovettsville, Middleburg, and Hillsboro, in which tributes to her poured in late last 7 days.

There was a palpable sense of regret and reduction expressed by a lot of who knew Whiting. Lovettsville Town Manager Sam Finz explained she was always “genuine, sincere and really expert.” He known as her really responsive to what the different town councils sought to realize and would normally get back again to them with a lawful solution.

“She was so well-informed about state law, and so able to give you an speedy response,” he reported. Finz spoke with her three periods a week to work on town challenges. “I’m likely to skip her dearly.”

Keith Markel, Leesburg’s deputy town supervisor, explained Whiting’s expertise and assistance was critical when he served at Lovettsville town supervisor early in his municipal government occupation. “Her big wealth of information and familiarly with the law” was essential to his accomplishment, he explained.

Hamilton Mayor David Simpson, who worked with Whiting when he served at Middleburg’s law enforcement chief, called her a “special woman.”

Hamilton Town Lawyer Maureen Gilmore was a shut close friend, as the two shared a adore of Maine, lobster rolls in addition their perseverance to municipal regulation. She famous Whiting’s very long struggle with unwell wellbeing, while continuing to guidance the cities and her other consumers. She was generous in sharing her deep information of the regulation and giving functional assistance, Gilmore reported. “She experienced the skill to see the total forest,” she said.

Martha Mason Semmes, who like Whiting has served most of Loudoun’s cities in a person way or a further in excess of the 4 a long time, explained she was “a elegant woman, as effectively as an completed lawyer and a expensive colleague.” Semmes worked with Whiting in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when Semmes was the city planner in Middleburg. “She was unflappable, so competent and manufactured my position straightforward,” she claimed.

Whiting’s understanding and guiding hand also was a great deal appreciated in Hillsboro, the place in recent decades she assisted with the town’s largest enlargement and its intricate traffic calming and infrastructure projects. As Mayor Roger Vance famous, “We have been a smaller town with big ambitions, and she would give use legal advice. When we wished to extend matters, she would generally make clear the pitfalls of these action, that things could always go sideways … but she was also all set to hear to our mad strategies and enable us figure it out.”

“It’s a substantial reduction for all of us. We have dropped a good good friend,” Vance claimed, recalling her bravery in adversity—courage she never ever lost—and the way her facial area crinkled up when she laughed.

As a statewide leader in the commonwealth’s authorized neighborhood, she was regarded in 2002 with the Nearby Governing administration Attorneys of Virginia’s Distinguished Company Award—an award named in honor of her spouse.

She was preceded in demise by her partner, Edward Finnegan and two siblings, Helen Whiting and Christian Flemming. She is survived by one particular sister, Margaret Flemming two sons, Jim Finnegan and Thomas Finnegan one particular daughter-in-regulation, Alicia Green-Finnegan 5 grandchildren, Quincy, Elijah, Nehemiah, Kaila, and Alivia two nieces, Hillary and Audrey and 3 grand-canine.

A viewing is scheduled from 11 a.m. to midday Saturday, Sept. 18, with a services adhering to at Colonial Funeral Property in Leesburg.

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