~ PVN staff report
LURAY, Sept. 26 ― Tommy Lansberry, District 1 representative on the Page County School Board, passed away last Thursday at age 76 after an extended battle with an inoperable brain tumor. The School Board publicly announced Lansberry’s health issues in June after a noticeable, extended absence in the District 1 seat.
“Page County Public Schools is deeply saddened by the passing of District 1 School Board member, Mr. Tommy Lansberry on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022,” reads a press release issued by the local school division on Monday morning.
“Mr. Lansberry was a dedicated School Board member and a fierce advocate for our students, especially when it came to the safety of our students and staff,” Dr. Antonia Fox, superintendent of the local school division, shared. “I will always be grateful for his quiet spirit, his beaming smile, and his ongoing support for me as a new superintendent. Our division has lost someone who not only cared about the students and staff in our division, he also cared deeply for the Rileyville community and all of Page County.”
The former bus mechanic and substitute bus driver retired after 25 years of service to the local school division in 2016.
“We are saddened by the passing of Mr. Lansberry,” School Board Chair Megan Gordon said. “We are deeply appreciative of his years of dedicated service to Page County Public Schools.”
The year after his retirement, Lansberry ran for the District 1 seat on the school board and won a two-way race in 2017. He won an uncontested race with 1,448 votes last November and returned in January for a second, four-year term.
School Board Vice Chair Jackie Sullivan-Smoot reflected that she first met Lansberry when he was elected to the school board and is grateful to have met him and be able to call him a friend.
“He truly had the best interests of all that worked in the system,” she said. “His common-sense approach to many situations paid off in the long run. He will be greatly missed. The constituents from District 1 were well represented.”
Lansberry was less than nine months into his second term at the time of his passing. The school board now has 45 days in which to select an interim school board member who will serve through Dec. 31, 2023. A special election will be held next November to fill the District 1 seat for the remainder of the term through Dec. 31, 2025.
“With Tommy, the well-being and safety of the students always came first,” said District 2 school board member Rolf Gubler. “One place where you saw this was his ongoing support for improving our bus fleet. He also cared about our staff and he wanted to improve teacher retention in PCPS. He consistently supported every staff raise over the past five years. We didn’t just lose a School Board member. We lost a member of our PCPS family and we lost a friend. Tommy will be sorely missed.”
Even as he underwent various treatments for his condition earlier this year, Lansberry remained involved with the School Board, despite his absences from meetings. In June, the School Board reported that: “Mr. Tommy Lansberry, a current PCPS Board member in good standing, has an inoperable brain tumor. For the past several months, he has been undergoing treatment and is currently working with his doctors to determine next steps based on the effectiveness of his treatments. Mr. Lansberry has been in communication with the school board and the superintendent. He receives updates and all Board communications are shared with him.”
In its press release Monday morning, the local school system extended “its deepest condolences to Mr. Lansberry’s daughters and their families, as well as Mr. Lansberry’s extended family and friends who knew and loved him.”
“Tommy was a family man and I appreciated his views on school transportation and his thoughts on the difficult issues that COVID raised,” added District 4 school board member, Duane Painter.
Lansberry was a veteran of the United States Army, having served in Vietnam. He was a member of the Rileyville Trinity Church, the Rileyville Rec Center and the Rileyville Cemetery Association.
“Tommy was very welcoming when I started the Board”, said Dr. Amy Painter, who represents District 3 on the School Board. “He was always a strong advocate for his Rileyville community and the transportation department.”
Report based largely on a press release issued by Page County Public Schools.
Keep up with the PCPS live news feed on their website.