Thursday, January 12, 2017

A statement from Richmond City Council: Regarding the passing of Mr. Clarence Lee Townes, Jr.

Richmond City Council – Richmond City Hall - 900 E. Broad Street, Suite 305 - Richmond, Virginia  23219 U.S.A.  -

Thursday, 12 January 2017

A statement from
Richmond City Council

Regarding the passing of Mr. Clarence Lee Townes, Jr.

(Richmond, Virginia U.S.A.) - “It is with deep and profound sadness that Richmond City Council learned of the passing yesterday of lifelong Richmond resident, community advocate, civil rights champion, public servant, businessman, national and local political activist, and friend, Mr. Clarence Lee Townes, Jr.

        Our hearts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult time as we share in mourning his passing and in honoring and remembering his important life, largesse and legacy.

        Mr. Townes was a true paragon and community treasure who embodied and exemplified the strength and stature of a benevolent lion, as he was affectionately known as by his family and friends.

        A man of exceptional reputation, Mr. Townes possessed substantial ability, intellect, fortitude and commitment and worked tirelessly during his lifetime to advance, strengthen, and increase the economic, educational, and political status of African-Americans in Richmond, statewide and in the nation.

        Born in Richmond on January 21, 1928, Mr. Townes graduated from Richmond Public Schools Armstrong High School in 1944, earned his Bachelor of Science (Commerce) from Virginia Union University, and was commissioned and served as a Second Lieutenant in the United States of America Amy Infantry, receiving his honorable discharge in 1953.
        During the 1950's and 1960's, Mr. Townes served numerous political leadership roles at the local, state and national level and, in 1970 helped found the Joint Center for Political Affairs, an African-American think-tank associated with Howard University that assisted newly elected black officials, serving as its Director of Governmental Affairs from 1970-1974.

        Mr. Townes' professional career included serving as a consultant on federal programs to Virginia State University and to the Virginia Electric and Power Company on matters regarding equal employment. He also served as a consultant for the U.S.A. Department of Labor, Manpower Administration, evaluating the Equal Opportunity Program, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Consolidated Bank and Trust Co. of Richmond, the oldest African-American controlled bank in the United States of America.

        Mr. Townes' public and community service leadership included serving as
Commissioner of the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority and as Chairman of Richmond Renaissance, a non-profit economic development booster organization for downtown Richmond, and subsequently as its Deputy Director and Director.

        Mr. Townes also served as a Trustee and the Chairman of the Richmond Public Schools Board of Trustees and as a Member and Chairman of the Metropolitan Richmond Convention and Visitors Bureau. His leadership also included serving as a Member of the Virginia Commonwealth University Board of Visitors, Virginia Commonwealth University Real Estate Foundation, and as a Valentine Museum Board of Trustees Emeritus.

        In America, public and community service is considered to be among the most important and noble work a person can do and, through his outstanding example, Mr. Clarence Lee Townes, Jr. proved his dedication to and support of the principles and creed written into the founding documents of our great Nation, in that our individual destinies and that of our families, communities, city, state and country include not only the aspiration of our federal constitutional republic but, the time, talent, investment, labor and dedication of all its residents in realizing the fulfillment of its promise.

        Richmond City Council and Richmond residents join together to recognize the important life, largesse and legacy of Mr. Clarence Lee Townes, Jr. and thank his family for sharing him with us all these years and for the tremendous assistance and support they provided in helping him and Richmond to be an even better place to live, love, work, play, visit and raise a family."