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Celebrating the life of Rep. Donald McEachin, a 'giant of a man'

Posted at 6:46 AM, Dec 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-07 09:02:44-05

RICHMOND, Va. — Friends and family of the late Rep. Donald McEachin will say their final goodbyes during a celebration of life ceremony at St. Paul’s Baptist Church on Creighton Road on Wednesday morning.

The 61-year-old prominent Richmonder died on Monday, November 28 after a battle with colorectal cancer.

McEachin was elected to a fourth term as Virginia’s 4th District representative about 20 days before he passed.

The funeral and remarks will begin at 11 a.m.

Pastor Tyrone Nelson will be reading a Bible passage and saying a few words to honor the man he called a mentor, coach and a big brother.

Nelson serves on the Henrico County Board of Supervisors and is the pastor at Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church in Jackson Ward. He was an aspiring public servant when he met McEachin for the first time about 20 years ago.

The legislator immediately took him under his wing.

“He always knew when to give a word of encouragement. Always knew when to pat you on the back. He could tell when you might be down to contemplating something,” Nelson remembered. “The thing that I appreciated about him was he also would rein you in, if you needed to be reined in.”

The pair, in addition to Virginia Del. Lamont Bagby (D-Richmond), were very close and would often catch up over breakfast at the IHOP on Laburnum Ave. Through an ancestry search, McEachin discovered the three friends and colleagues were all distantly related.

However, Nelson said McEachin rarely talked about his health. Instead, he was looking to the future and making legislative plans for next year.

The family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to Virginia Union University’s Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology, the institution where Congressman McEachin received his Master of Divinity in 2008 and a place always close to his heart.

Dr. Hakim Lucas, VUU's president, said the university is honored to be the recipients of their donations after losing "in the physical world, a giant of a man."

McEachin was a champion for VUU and helped grow several of the school's programs including criminal justice, cyber security and legal studies. He said the Congressman inspired a new generation, and highlighting African Americans, to participate in public service.

Rep. McEachin also received an honorary doctorate during VUU's last graduation.

“We will ensure that those scholarships and those funds that are given from his family and his loved ones, that we use them to create more McEachins,” Dr. Lucas stated.

To make a contribution by mail to The Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology, Institutional Advancement, Attention: Deborah Alston, Virginia Union University, 1500 N. Lombardy St., Richmond, VA 23220

To make online donations, go to VUU.edu, then click on Donate. In the Designations box, click on SDP School of Theology Fund. Under Tribute Gift, Click the box indicating that this gift is in honor, memory or support of someone. In the comments box write, "In memory of A. Donald McEachin.”

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