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Obituary: Joe Shumard, Alexandria Living Legend and Beloved Community Leader, Passes Away After Extended Illness

Joe Shumard at the George Washington Birthday Parade. (Photo: Steven Halperson)

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Over the weekend, Joe Shumard, an Alexandria Living Legend, past president of the Chamber of Commerce, executive director of the George Washington Birthday Celebration and Parade, and president of the Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association, passed away after an extended illness.

“Joe was a giant of a man and a faithful community leader for many years,” Bill Kehoe, Secretary-Treasurer of Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association, told The Zebra this morning. “He has been our president for at least the last ten years and we will miss him greatly. All of Alexandria will.”

Originally from the San Francisco Bay area, Joseph Shumard relocated to join the staff of Alexandria National Bank and spent the next 30 years in the banking profession. He then moved to the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce as membership director and served later as president.

Joe came to Alexandria in July 1976, appropriately enough on July 4th as the nation celebrated its bicentennial. He may be best known as the guiding spirit and organizational director behind Alexandria’s George Washington Birthday Celebration Committee, which he joined in 1994, becoming its chairman in 1999.

He was also involved with Alexandria’s American Legion Post 24 and the Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association, known as Washington’s Fire Company, which he served as President for the past decade. Shumard was actively engaged with volunteer organizations such as Volunteer Alexandria, First Night Alexandria, and Mid-Atlantic Erg Sprints.

“Shumard earned the reputation as the “go to” person for recruiting volunteers in Alexandria,” says the profile written in the Living Legends archive, “Volunteers appreciate the opportunity to participate in activities that are so well organized, thanks in large part to the efforts of Joe Shumard.”

Joe’s wife, Ann Shumard has requested no flowers be sent, but if desired, a donation may be made in Joe’s honor to:

Friendship Conservation Fund

P.O. Box 22505

Alexandria VA 22304

A more detailed obituary and details regarding a memorial service will be released when they become available.

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Mary Wadland

Mary Wadland is the Publisher and Editor in Chief of The Zebra Press, founded by her in 2010. Originally from Delray Beach, Florida, Mary is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Hollins College in Roanoke, VA and has lived and worked in the Alexandria publishing community since 1987.

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