Longtime director of the Kern County Resource Management Agency, David Price III, died Thursday after suffering a cardiac event on April 9. He was 65.
Known for his dry wit and easygoing style, Price retired from the county in 2009 after 21 years of service.
“Dave was one of the great ones,” said Supervisor Mike Maggard. “He’s the guy that kept the infrastructure of the county running smoothly, and it prospered under his watch.”
After retirement, he moved to Johnson City, Tennessee, to be near his family, but remained in touch with many friends on Facebook.
His wife, Liz Price, informed those friends on Thursday that her husband “went home to be with Jesus,” eliciting a flood of supportive messages.
“He was a great mentor to me,” Barry Jung commented. “I will miss the breadth of knowledge and his unselfishness to share and mentor those who worked with him. A great loss.”
As director of the Resource Management Agency, Price controlled one of the county’s most powerful departments. Known as an “umbrella” department, the RMA oversaw the county’s efforts in roads, planning, engineering, animal control, environmental health and many other publics works functions.
"If you think of a government employee, he was one of the great ones," said Supervisor David Couch. "I never saw him mistreat anyone. He was a very humble guy. We need more like him."
The department has since been changed to the Public Works Department.
After suffering from his cardiac event, which refers to a range of incidents that can damage the heart muscle, Price was treated at Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport, Tennessee, according to Liz.
In 2011, shortly after moving to Tennessee, The Californian reported that Price experienced a major medical issue and underwent four operations on his neck to relieve pressure on his spinal chord.
“This is devastating news to his many friends in our community, who remember Dave as a friendly, extremely witty administrator who would always lend a helping hand,” wrote Richard Beene, Californian CEO at the time.
Services have been scheduled for Tuesday in Tennessee, although an exact time has not been set.