Veteran District of Columbia education and community activist William Lockridge has died. Lockridge, 63, who at the time of his death, represented Ward 8 on the State Board of Education, suffered a stroke at his Southeast Washington home over the weekend and had been treated at George Washington University Hospital where he passed on Jan. 12 after being on life support. The cause of death has been attributed to respiratory failure.

Known for his accessibility and willingness to listen, Lockridge had spent more than 25 years serving the D.C. community – particularly wards 7 and 8, where he had been held in high regard for his determination in accomplishing goals.

“William Lockridge was a true public servant who was forever in the trenches working for the community,” Mayor Vincent Gray said in a statement. “As a longtime member of the State Board of Education and the Board of Education, Mr. Lockridge was not afraid to speak up loudly when he thought anyone was trampling on the rights of the District’s children. He was a familiar face n the Council Chamber , always showing up to give voice to those who did not speak for themselves.”

At-large Councilman Michael Brown added to those comments, saying Lockridge “was ahead of his time in many respects and his unique ability to keep pressing for educational reform made a real difference for all who reside in our city when others would prefer the status quo.”

Family spokeswoman Natalie Williams said Lockridge’s loved ones were overwhelmed by the love and support displayed over the past few days. “We thank the residents of the District and our Ward 8 family for uplifting William in prayer . While this is a difficult time for the family, our hearts are warmed just knowing that he was able to touch and empower so many lives during his visit her on earth.”

Lockridge is survived by his wife Wanda; children Stefan and Joy Lockridge; four grandchildren; mother Pearl Chambers; sister Joy Majied as well as a host of other relatives and friends.

Plans for a funeral service will be announced later.