Former Brevard commissioner, ‘waterways activist’ Ron Pritchard dies

Pritchard remembered as ‘force of civic pride and activism for Brevard County’

The sunset above the Indian River in Merritt Island. (Image credit: John Speck) (WKMG 2020)

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Former District 2 Brevard County commissioner Ron Pritchard has died, according to a news release.

Pritchard’s death was first announced earlier this week during a Brevard County Commissioners meeting by District 4 Commissioner Curt Smith, who remembered Pritchard as a “waterways activist.”

“I have known Ron for 20 years or more. He was a force of civic pride and activism for Brevard County in general and specifically regarding water and boating issues,” Smith said. “Because of his efforts both as a Commissioner and as a private citizen, his presence will be greatly missed.”

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Pritchard, who had called Florida home since 1956, represented District 2, which includes areas of Merritt Island, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Cape Canaveral, Kennedy Space Center and Patrick Air Force Base, from 2002-2006. He served as vice chairman of the Commission in 2003 and chairman in 2004, according to the release.

His successor currently in office also remembered him for his environmental efforts.

“Echoing the honorific of ‘waterways activist’ that some have appended to Ron, I am grateful, as well as honored, to follow in his footsteps and build upon the groundwork of environmental stewardship that he established,” said Commissioner Bryan Lober.

The former commissioner devoted much of his life to public service. According to his website, Pritchard retired from the Fort Lauderdale Fire Department after 27 years.

He also served as chairman of the Brevard Water Supply Board, Public Safety Coordinating Council and Value Adjustment Board and was a member of the Metropolitan Planning Council, East Central Florida Regional Planning Council and the Central Florida Smart Growth Alliance and served on the Tourist Development Council, Economic Development Commission, Public Safety Coordinating Council and the County’s Internal Audit Committee.

“His involvement in Brevard County government was extensive and included stints as chairman of the Government Relations Committee for the Cocoa Beach Chamber of Commerce, President of the Citizens of Florida’s Waterways, director of the Merritt Island Executive Council, and involvement with Keep Brevard Beautiful, Vietnam Veterans of Brevard and Leadership Brevard,” the news release said of his years of service.

Pritchard was also a boating enthusiast for more than 40 years and a member of the Fort Lauderdale Power Squadron who completed several boating courses to earn the nautical rating of pilot, according to the release.

The former commissioner was recognized in 2006 by former Brevard County Sheriff Jack Parker for his part in establishing a sexual offender ordinance that required offender registration and tracking of sexual offenders who victimized children.

He also spent much of his free time volunteering, attending fundraisers and other various community activities along the Space Coast.

Services to remember Pritchard are still pending.