Fairfax County Board of Supervisors members on May 7 mourned two-term Dranesville District Supervisor Nancy Falck (R), who died of heart failure April 26 at age 89.
Falck, who remained active engaged in county civic affairs until the end of her life, represented swaths of McLean, Tysons, Great Falls and Herndon on the Board of Supervisors during a period (1980-91) of rapid growth across Fairfax County, a time when county residents seemed torn between embracing the opportunities of growth and fearing its ramifications.
Falck was “one of those people who made Fairfax County what it is today,” said Supervisor Patrick Herrity (R-Springfield), whose father – Jack Herrity – was Board of Supervisors chairman during Falck’s tenure.
“I’ve got many fond memories of her,” Herrity said, calling Falck “just a great, genuine person.”
Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville) called Falck a “very highly respected supervisor” who was “involved in many state and local activities, especially those involving mental health and education.”
Falck, who died at her residence at The Woodlands Retirement Community in Fairfax, first was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 1979, succeeding John Shacochis, a fellow Republican who served just a single term before deciding the job was too aggravating and opting against a re-election run.
When she joined the Board of Supervisors in January 1980, Fairfax County was a community of about 625,000 people – about 80,000 of them in the Dranesville District. The county’s population had grown nearly 40 percent in the 1970s, but still had a significant growth spurt ahead of it. (The population now stands at 1.1 million.)
After a relatively easy re-election run in 1983, Falck faced a more contentious battle in 1987 and was defeated by Democrat Lilla Richards.
That year also saw pro-growth board chairman Jack Herrity defeated for re-election by slow-growth Democrat Audrey Moore, which may have hurt Falck’s chances. Her effort to retain her seat also was hampered by the entry into the 1987 Dranesville race of Christian-school developer Robert Thoburn, a conservative angered by county zoning decisions whose main aim that year seemed to be to deny Falck another term.
(The slow-growth movement that arrived in Fairfax in 1987 was short-lived; Moore was defeated for re-election as board chair in 1991 by Republican Thomas Davis, and Richards lost her seat that same year to Republican Ernest Berger. Also falling to defeat in 1991 was the legendary Martha Pennino, a Democrat from Vienna who despite having helped shepherd Fairfax’s development for two decades was defeated by Republican Bob Dix in what was then known as the Centreville District and now is Hunter Mill.)
According to her family, Nancy Lawrie Kurtz Falck was born in Milwaukee and lived in several states before finally settling in Fairfax County.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the College of William and Mary and later in life was appointed to serve on the college’s board of visitors.
Falck began her career as a research bacteriologist and then taught high-school physics, chemistry and biology. She also served on the Fairfax County School Board before her family convinced her to run for supervisor.
Falck was an organizing director of Patriot Bank and later Cardinal Financial, where she became chairman of the board of Cardinal Bank in Fairfax. She also served as president of the Northern Virginia Mental Health Association.
Falck was a great cook, her family said, and enjoyed traveling, visiting more than 200 countries with her husband of 69 years, George.
“We went to all seven continents,” her husband said. Shortly before her death, she told him, “George, you’ve got to make it to Easter Island. That’s the one place we didn’t make.”
“I’ll try to keep that promise,” he said. “I’m looking at some trips.”
The former supervisor and her family lived in McLean’s Chesterbrook Woods neighborhood for more than 50 years and later moved into Braddock District, where she was “very active up until just a month or two ago at the last community meeting,” said Supervisor John Cook (R-Braddock).
“She was always, even now, a very powerful advocate, very knowledgeable about what the board’s been doing, even 30 years after leaving the board,” Cook said. “We do mourn the passing of someone who really gave a lot to the community.”
In addition to her husband, Falck is survived by daughters Lawrie Moncure, Susan Phillips and Virginia “Gigi” Hoopii; son Andrew Falck; eight grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service for Falck will be held May 17 at 11 a.m. at Fairfax Presbyterian Church, 10723 Main St. in Fairfax.
Memorial donations can be made to the Nancy Kurtz Falck Library Acquisition endowment by sending money to the College of William and Mary Foundation, University Advancement, Gift Accounting, P.O. Box 1693, Williamsburg, Va. 23187.
Scott McCaffrey contributed to this report.