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County Supervisor Charles McGlashan Dead at 49

Mill Valley resident and a leading force in county government and beyond dies after an apparent heart attack Sunday in North Lake Tahoe.

Marin County Supervisor and Mill Valley resident , who emerged as one of the leading political forces in Marin over the past seven years, collapsed and died of an apparent heart attack Sunday in the North Lake Tahoe area after a day of skiing, county officials have confirmed. He was 49.

McGlashan collapsed outside a residence in Tahoe Vista on Lake Tahoe’s north shore a few minutes after 5 p.m., according Sgt. Paul Schmidt of the Nevada County Sheriff/Coroner’s Office. Mr. McGlashan had been skiing with friends at Northstar-at-Tahoe resort earlier Sunday and was just about to leave for home when he suffered a cardiac arrest while sitting in the back seat of a car, Schmidt said.

“They took him to Tahoe Forest Hospital in Truckee where they pronounced him dead,” Schmidt said. “North Tahoe Fire responded to the call and did CPR. They got to the hospital at 5:30-ish but he did not have a heartbeat.”

McGlashan collapsed outside the home of Mill Valley City Councilwoman Shawn Marshall as a small group of friends loaded up cars to return to the Bay Area when he collapsed after "a great day of skiing" at Northstar-at-Tahoe, Marshall said. McGlashan's wife, Carol Misseldine, was in Mill Valley at the time and headed to the Tahoe area Monday.

Marshall said McGlashan had no complaints of ill health and although he was an advanced skier and “attacked the slopes,” there was no indication of any ill health before he slumped over in the back seat of a car in her driveway.

“We tried valiantly and did everything we could to revive him,” she said. 

Marin County Administrator Matthew Hymel confirmed McGlashan’s death in a statement prepared by McGlashan’s staff and sent to Patch Sunday night. A similar statement was posted early Monday morning on McGlashan's Facebook page, delivering the news with "devastating sadness."

“Marin County lost a visionary environmental leader suddenly and tragically on Sunday,” read the statement. “Supervisor Charles McGlashan died of an apparent heart attack (near) Lake Tahoe, a place to which he had deep family ties and loved since boyhood.

“Supervisor McGlashan leaves a legacy of environmental leadership that was passionate, inspired and pragmatic. His many accomplishments during his short political career include the formation of the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART), the Marin Economic Forum and the Marin Energy Authority."

McGlashan is survived by his wife and "by family, friends and colleagues who all greatly mourn his passing," according to the statement.

As the supervisor for District 3 in Marin, McGlashan represented Strawberry, Sausalito, Mill Valley, Belvedere, Marin City, the Floating Homes, Almonte, Tam Valley and Tiburon.

“Charles was so passionate about what he believed in and was courageous enough to take those passions and turn them into reality,” said Supervisor Judy Arnold, who represents Novato. “He was a dear, dear friend. It’s such a loss to the board and to the county.”

McGlashan was born on July 15, 1961 in Hillsborough and spent his childhood in Santa Barbara and the Lake Tahoe area. He graduated with a degree in English from Yale University and received an MBA from Stanford. McGlashan moved to Marin in 1991, and later launched an environmental consulting firm that took on Marin County as a client.

He was appointed to fill a vacancy on the board of the Marin Municipal Water District in 2003, and ran a successful campaign for supervisor the next year, winning re-election in 2008.

In more than six years on the board, McGlashan established himself as a staunch advocate for progressive causes.

Perhaps McGlashan’s biggest accomplishment was spearheading the December 2008 creation of the Marin Energy Authority, a joint powers authority consisting of the county of Marin and seven Marin municipalities, including Mill Valley. In May 2010, the authority launched its , which took advantage of a state law passed in 2002 that allows cities and counties to purchase or generate their own electricity and sell it to customers.

Dawn Weisz, who served as interim director of MEA until she was hired as its permanent executive officer in February, declined to comment immediately on the news of McGlashan’s passing except to say, "Of course I’m very shocked like everyone else."

McGlashan was also a leading force behind the SMART train project, which has in its ongoing campaign to bring commuter rail service between Sonoma and Marin counties.

He championed an ordinance to at local markets and place a fee on paper bags, a move that drew widespread praise from local environmentalists and also a .

McGlashan served in dozens of other appointed roles ranging from the Marin County Housing Authority to the Transportation Authority of Marin to the Greenbelt Alliance, according to his website.

Check back later for more details about and reactions to McGlashan's passing.

Matthew Roche March 28, 2011 at 01:43 PM
Marin County and California have lost a truly unique, gifted, and human leader. I have lost a friend and an example for what it means to be a passionate and compassionate. I believe that most folks in our community will never understand how much we have lost with Charles' passing. My wife and I met Charles, and his wife, Carol, as neighbors, and became friends. I had the opportunity to watch he and Dawn fight back PG&E to realize Marin Clean Energy. I found a man with incredible warmth and openness. A man who had not just learned the politician's trick of appearing to listen, but a man who simply could not help but listen. A man who drank deeply of the people, ideas, and the very fabric of our town and our County. I also met a man in Charles that was a fighter. Not embittered by a ten-year battle against a Goliath, but possessed of a calmness that enabled him to persevere, and triumph, when he knew the cause was right. There are some men who walk the earth and, though they may tread with a light step and be easy companions, they leave deep footprints so that we may know the right path. Charles was such a man. Thank you, Charles, for our brief friendship, and for giving me a glimpse of what a man can be.
Brent Ainsworth March 28, 2011 at 01:45 PM
Matthew: Thanks for leaving such a heart-felt comment.
Larry the Hat Lautzker March 28, 2011 at 01:51 PM
Charles was a regular guy, he cared deeply and was incredibly passionate about making the world better. A staunch environmentalist, a light that led the way for many. A leader who would not be deterred in his devotion to serve and bring about change. His vision for Marin, boundless energy to make changes necessary to insure a better economic, safe and green place for generations to come was unmatched. He will be deeply missed, my thoughts and prayers go out to Carol and the rest of his family and friends. My hope that someone steps up really soon to fill the larger than life shoes of Charles. A dream he had for us all to live better more fulfilling and conscious lives, His legacy will inspire our future. Safe journey Charles, Larry
Lynne Wasley March 28, 2011 at 02:39 PM
Charles McGlashan - our champion - he was ever fighting for the 'lost' causes and through courage, tenacity and heartfelt conviction somehow managed to bring them to fruition. An brilliant and amazing visionary - he gave us so much - he was such an unbelievably positive force in the world. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Carol and to all his family and those closest to him... words fall far too short. Charles' outstanding efforts benefited our county - but also reached far beyond - the loss for all of us is enormous. Charles will live on through his legacy of good works - a green and just footprint that will continue to impact us in the most positive of ways - and he will also live on in the hearts of all those who were privileged enough to know him. Life is precious - if we could all work with even just a bit of the heart and drive toward greater good as Charles did - just imagine... Thanks Charles.
Pat Ravasio March 28, 2011 at 02:47 PM
Wow, this is a terrible loss for Marin County! Charles was a powerhouse for all the good causes. So sad, and he was so young!
Ken Wachtel March 28, 2011 at 03:27 PM
I have lost a friend and we have all lost a leader in the fight for what is right in our communities. Charles was bright, energetic and always a joy to talk and work with. Charles took on the battles for all of us and usually won. I shall miss him greatly. I cannot believe that I will not hear his voice again. Yet he is still with us in the good deeds he has done. My heart goes out to Carol. She and we have suffered a loss that cannot be filled. We will not soon see his likes again.
John Schlag March 28, 2011 at 04:02 PM
We haven't just lost what Charles was giving the world today, but the incalculable amount that he would have given in the future. I am very sorry to hear of this great loss, and my heart goes out to Charles's family, friends and colleagues. Fearlessness at taking tough stances that needed to be taken; equanimity in the face of criticism; unwavering opposition to deep-pocketed corporate interests; graciousness in success; a keen business sense as well as a love for the environment; folkiness in delivering a tough message; a willingness to get his hands dirty - all these things were Charles's calling cards. One of the last times I saw Charles was while picking up trash along the side of the road between Sausalito and Marin City on Martin Luther King Day. There, and during the march to the Marin City Community Center, his joy in community, and compassion for the terrible loss that was suffered there, was apparent for all to see. As we struggle to learn to live within one planet's worth of resources, Charles was a guiding light and a champion of solutions to our thorniest problems. Those of us in the sustainability community owe Charles a great debt for guidance, support, courage and companionship. He will be sorely missed. John Schlag President, Sustainable Marin
Pam Hartwell March 28, 2011 at 04:12 PM
Thanks John. All the Sustainable orgs in the county could rely on Charles. It is a great loss and a great personal sadness.
Jake Mackenzie March 28, 2011 at 04:21 PM
From Sonoma. What a Grand Man! What a Great Loss!
Linda Bagneschi Dorrance March 28, 2011 at 04:46 PM
I am extremely saddened to read this terrible news. What a monumental loss for the world, really, in terms of what he has done - and was poised to do in the future - for the environment.
V-Anne Chernock March 28, 2011 at 04:48 PM
The Board and members of Sustainable Novato also send our prayers and sadness at the passing of a true friend. V-Anne Chernock President, Sustainable Novato
Martin Unversaw March 28, 2011 at 04:49 PM
This is a Very Sad day for all who had the pleasure knowing Charles. His great smile and enthusiasm will be missed by all. My heart goes out to Carol and his family. Marin County has lost a Great Champion. Words don't work here.
Caroline Warner March 28, 2011 at 05:18 PM
I'm reeling with this news. Charles has been such a huge ally for the environmental world and gave me some faith that there was still decency in politics. HIs commitment, (along with all of those who serve at the county level on the board of supervisors), passion, leadership and realness has been such an inspiration to me! I was planning to see him in a month on a tour of wetland restoration projects with the Sf Bay restoration authority and am totally shocked that his bright light has stopped burning. What a tremendous loss. I send songs of peace for his passage and a huge compassionate, spacious hug to all those who have loved him and will be grieving in the days and weeks and months ahead. "Safe passage - pilgrim of the spirit. Peace be with you, on your way back home. YOu are in our hearts, as you travel near it. Safe journey, now your work is done."
Alex Horvath March 28, 2011 at 05:23 PM
Marin lost a very passionate, heartfelt and hardworking public servant.
Barry Buckley March 28, 2011 at 05:45 PM
My condolences to his family. Thank you for encouraging Charles to give so much back to our world with all his progressive work. Charles so easy to engage and was always there for a good cause. I once complemented him on the fact that he stuck his neck way out for SMART even though his constituents in southern Marin would be get the least direct benefit. I said that those of us along the 101 corridor would be indebted to him forever. Charles humorously suggested he might someday collect on that debt.
lise salmon March 28, 2011 at 05:55 PM
What an incalculable loss to us all. His cheerful, ever-smiling face will be so missed as he walked his dogs along the trails and pathways of our hill. Always available for a chat, always generous and receptive. This seems so enormously unfair to lose a person this good. He was truly remarkable. My heart goes out to the family, dealing with the suddeness of such a tragedy. Lise Salmon, Neighbor
jay gustafson March 28, 2011 at 06:28 PM
... safe journey Charles ~ your work here is being continued, amped-up, and made all that you were inspired to lead us towards... a grateful village remembers, grits, and prepares to move forward. Jay Alan Gustafson
Mike Pechner March 28, 2011 at 07:25 PM
This is a real gut check. While I din't know the man personally, I was certainly aware of his extremely brilliant work in Marin County. I fervently hope that the Marin County Board of Supervisors appoint someone with Mr. McGlashans incredible and unique credentials. In this case, the old "cliche" about he will very hard to replace rings so true in this case. Marin County is in a pivotal position in its future and needs someone with the visionary qualities of Charles. Meteorologist Mike Pechner
Antonina Markoff March 28, 2011 at 09:01 PM
With contagious enthusiasm Charles envisioned a much better world. I am so sad that he will not be here to see the continuing bounty of his superhuman efforts. Antonina Markoff
Marin Conservation League March 28, 2011 at 11:20 PM
Along with everyone who had the pleasure of knowing and working with Supervisor Charles McGlashan, we at Marin Conservation League were shocked and deeply saddened by news of his untimely death on Sunday, March 28. The loss is both personal and political. Charles served on the MCL Board in 2004-5 just as his political career was about to take off. He brought to the organization emerging concerns over climate change and sustainability, and was a lively and vital part of discussions that added these issues to MCL’s traditional land use and natural resource agenda. Charles’ curiosity and capacity for learning prompted him to take the Environmental Forum of Marin’s training program and continued to inform his pursuit of environmental issues in Marin. Even when there were disagreements about the best path, Charles made his position clear and pursued it with passion and intelligence. He worked tremendously hard as a Supervisor in representing the Marin 3rd District, and yet had a ready smile and was attentive to all sides. His commitment to environmental values was authentic and his leadership on environmental issues has made Marin a better place. We will miss him! We extend our sincere condolences to his wife Carol, to all his family and closest friends, and to the many public friends he made during his promising and all-too-brief career.
Marla March 28, 2011 at 11:25 PM
He was an inspiration, mentor and personal friend, but most of all he was a brave champion of many progressive and environmental causes and this whole community will feel the loss. Most people would back down under the type of controversy and opposition issues like Marin Clean Energy elicited, but Charles was steadfast in his support for what he knew was right. So sad to lose such a principled activist. My thoughts and best wishes are with his family today.
Paul Dorrance March 29, 2011 at 02:16 AM
Chuck was a larger than life, i have such admiration for him and they way he treated everyone. He will be greatly missed!
John Corcoran March 29, 2011 at 03:25 AM
Charles, we all miss you deeply already. The outpouring of love and support is testament to the many lives you touched. I will miss Charles as a leader for our county, as an environmentalist, as one of the most articulate champions of equity for all, and most of all as a committed friend. I loved how focused he was on the future and on solving problems for generations yet to come. His legacy speaks for itself. He achieved both the SMART train and the Marin Energy Authority, both of which naysayers said were impossible, were a pipe dream, and could not be done. His lasting impact from the brief time we all knew him will be felt for generations.
Tom Asher March 29, 2011 at 04:26 AM
I am so sorry to hear the news. I remember about ten or twelve years ago a group of us including Charles were part of a monthly discussion and support group for professionals involved in sustainability work. Each month we would rotate meetings and gather at someone's home either in Marin, the East Bay or San Francisco. One night in Fairfax, a collective realization dawned on us all at once. Sitting in a circle, we all looked at Charles and said, "Charles, you gotta go into politics. You have what it takes and we all need someone with your talent to go for it. You can do it. We know you can. Do it for us and for everyone." We practically ordered him to. It was a beautiful moment – we were all calling on him to serve a higher purpose. Amazingly, he actually listened to us, and ultimately figured out a pathway into the political realm along with tremendous support from Carol. I always envisioned calling Charles "Senator" one day. He was on his way to politics on a national level. So what's so upsetting to me is that we lost a great person, a friend, a comrade, an incredibly effective regional leader for so many honorable causes and a potentially powerful national leader. Charles, you burned bright. Thank you for all that you did. We will not let you down. We will pick up where you left off and continue to fight the good fight in your memory.
martin perlmutter March 29, 2011 at 04:46 AM
Martin Perlmutter Tiburon Marin County has suffered a monumental loss with the passing of Supervisor Charles McGlashan. He was an ethical, well spoken, educated, intelligent, caring, thoughtful man who was always accessible to the body politic. Additionally he was charming, good natured, patient and understanding. His supporters in Southern Marin will be shocked to learn they have lost a political titan whose career has been cut short in the prime of his life. Although he didn't talk about it he would have made a fine Congressman and Senator. We have truly been bereft of a great man. He will be sorely missed by his constituents whom he supported. Even when on the other side of an issue Charles understood why one was taking a position differing from him his. He never held a grudge and never evinced a single occasion of mean spiritedness. He will be irreplaceable as no one exits in the county who could take his place,save his wife, Carol Misseldine. I hope and pray she might consider running for his seat as she personifies his policies and thinking. We will have to bear his loss as best we can. Martin Perlmutter
Jerry Butler March 29, 2011 at 05:50 AM
Charles was a man of principle and of drive. He was passionate about Marin County and the environment. As the recent Chair of the RBRA all of us on the board were very clear about the goals he had and his determination to make them happen. He brightened every room when he entered and his dynamic personality was always present. All of us in Belvedere and the greater Bay Community will miss him greatly. Jerry Butler Vice Mayor City of Belvedere
Erika March 29, 2011 at 08:45 AM
Charles McGlashan voted a resounding Yes , with the other members of the GG board for a suicide barrier on the GG Bridge. He was one of the first to adopt this decision. It was a decision that had waited over 70 years to come to pass. Last year at the "Fire and Ice Ball"/ Sausalito fire dept. fund raiser, he delivered on a promise of a disaster preparedness emergency vehicle for the community. He had to remain on the stage and hold the mic for everyone ,because the static would only stop if he held it . He had the magic touch. He was the type of independent thinker and leader that we sorely needed in Southern Marin. We won't forget him or his good works. Sending our heartfelt condolences to his wife and extended family. Erika and John Brooks Fairfax,CA
Christine Rosen March 29, 2011 at 09:31 PM
I'm so sorry to hear this! What a loss!! Charles was such a great, dynamic, articulate, and creative advocate for corporate as well as community environmental sustainability. He spoke to my MBA class at the Haas School of Business many times - and even taught it one year when I was on sabbatical. Students loved him. My heart goes out to Carol and his family. We'll all miss him. I'm sorry we won't have the benefit of his leadership in the future. Chris Rosen Berkeley, CA
Rev. Daniel Christian May 30, 2011 at 06:18 AM
I do not understand all the attention given to this man. The parade draws upon the popular Christian message, "what would Jesus do", while at the same time comparing him to the "Buddah". The choice to make the Memorial Day Parade theme, "what would Charles do" is most disturbing. Jesus died on the cross. Memorial Day is about honoring the sacrifice of men and women who have served our country. Charles died of a heart attack after a day of skiing and "attacking the slopes". This is most troubling disrespectful.
Rev. Daniel Christian May 30, 2011 at 06:22 AM
I had real questions about his "good" causes. I saw someone very different. His people keep comparing him to Buddah and the Memorial Day parade them compares him to Jesus. Was he really Jesus and Buddah all in one? This is most troubling.


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