It was fitting that Gary Fordham's last act as a public servant was to be the lone dissenting vote against the Beaufort City Council's new downtown parking plan, which for some inexplicable reason continues to include "pay stations" that look like Darth Vader under a hair dryer and are so confounding to use they leave tourists and townspeople alike collectively throwing up their hands in despair and heading for the Prozac. True to his conservative roots, Fordham died shouting "no."
In his final run for City Council, he defied campaign logic by running on only one issue, stormwater runoff, shouting "no" once again to profiteers who would turn our rivers and streams into great garbage dumps.
And in the midst of stealthy political maneuverings and Machiavellian machinations, Gary Fordham, a native of Beaufort and a respectable son of the old politics, again shouted "no," the first to do so, against the merciless intrusion on our fragile infrastructure and small-town way of life from the sprawl of the proposed development of the McLeod and Clarendon properties.
Like his uncle, Angus Fordham, who was mayor when Gary and I were kids, and like most of us who live and work here, Gary loved Beaufort. He was a principled, true public servant rather than a pandering politician. Because he possessed not a whit of arrogance, he was incorruptible. He knew how to protect our town.
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And though confined to a wheelchair, he stood tall.
May he rest now in peace in the memory of us all.