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Former commissioner Roush, who built legacy of economic development for Carroll County, dies at 76

Former Commissioner David Roush
Former Commissioner David Roush (Courtesy Photo)

Former Carroll County Commissioner David Harold Roush died Tuesday at 76 years old, leaving behind a legacy of pursuing local business growth, according to those who worked with him.

Roush served Carroll County as a commissioner from 2010 to 2014. Those who worked alongside him knew that he had a hand in a bit of everything and cared deeply about economic growth in Carroll.

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“He was a tremendous advocate for expansion of the Carroll County Airport, which he thought would lead to increased economic development activity for Carroll County,” Carroll County Del. Haven Shoemaker said. “He supported the notion of the conveyor system at Lehigh Cement, where he formerly was a plant manager. He was supportive of reducing the tax burden that Carroll County residents and business owners alike bear, to attract folks to Carroll County. So, I think increased economic development activity is part of his legacy.”

Roush was known by his former colleagues as having a solid business and management background that helped him make tough and sound decisions.

Those tough decisions provided a learning experience for former Commissioner Richard Rothschild.

“I learned that there are times you just have to cut through the static and make a decision and move on,” Rothschild said.

According to those who knew him, Roush left behind some great quotes that stuck in their memories.

“Dave would always have a sort of calming effect,” former Commissioner Doug Howard said. “He was very solid. There were many days he would sort of give me that advice of, ‘You don’t need to get that excited about this, we’ll figure it out, we’ll get through it.’ One of my favorite quotes that he used to always say was, ‘The only thing we know about projections is that they are wrong,’ because they were never going to be exactly right. That became kind of a running joke.”

“If I asked him how he was doing, he would always say he was doing great but was getting better,” Shoemaker said. “I got a kick out of that.”

“One of his favorite comments I’ve always enjoyed as commissioners when we faced an intractable problem, a difficult problem, he would say to me ‘Commissioner, this one really makes my hair itch,’ ” Rothschild said. “We always got a good laugh out of that.”

Roush’s background in business also gave him common sense for leadership, according to Rothschild.

“We had quite a few conversations during the time that I was running for office about the job of being a commissioner, and his insight was something I weighed heavily, and he was not short of opinions after I took office,” said Commissioner Steve Wantz, who didn’t serve with Roush but worked with him on initiatives including the Public Safety Training Center. “My style has always, and will continue to be, listening to serve in the best way possible, and his contribution to that, both serious and humorous, was always refreshing and accepted."

According to Roush’s family, he was dedicated not only to his community, but to his family as well.

“My brother and I both grew up here, and Dad coached almost every sport there was," said his daughter, Carolyn Wrasse. "He coached us, and then all three of my kids grew up here and he attended every single sports thing they ever did, volunteered for all of their school things. We’ve been getting notes from all over, people from all walks of even my life that just said ‘Oh, I remember seeing your dad at all these events for your kids and he was such a good guy.’ He was always so busy on all his committees and all the things he did, but he still just made every effort to be at absolutely every single thing for all of his grandkids.”

According to his wife Dee, he didn’t have much spare time for hobbies but he was a huge history buff.

“We loved to go around to different historical sites and he loved museums, visiting museums,” she said. “He took all the kids to the museums and they probably got to be there longer than they wanted because he would read every single thing. They would like to go through and say ‘Look at that. Look at that,’ and he’d be reading it all so we’d have to leave him behind sometimes.”

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Roush also liked to read and golf, even though he didn’t golf much in the past year, according to his wife.

According to a news release from the commissioners, Carroll County flags were to be flown at half-staff to honor Roush.

"On behalf of the Carroll County Board of Commissioners, we mourn the passing of a great leader in our community, former Commissioner Roush. We extend our sincere appreciation for his many years of service to the county and community and send our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to his family,” Wantz said in the news release. “Lowering the flags to half-staff commemorates and honors his life and service.”

The county flags will remain at half-staff until Roush’s funeral Saturday, according to the news release.

The New Windsor fire company also made an announcement about Roush’s passing on its website.

“During his time as the plant manager at Lehigh, he developed a strong working relationship with all the local volunteer fire departments in the area,” as stated in the news release. “Past Commissioner Roush even served as the Capital Campaign Chairman for our new station located at 101 High Street, helping secure the necessary funds to build our current station.”

Roush is survived by his wife of 55 years, Dee; one daughter, Carolyn Roush Wraase, and husband Richard Reid Wraase of Westminster; one son, David Harold Roush Jr. and wife Tiffany of Annapolis; seven grandchildren, Zachary Wraase and wife Janice of Taneytown, Conger Wraase of Westminster, Sonia Wraase of Westminster, Braden, Addison, Campbell, and Dane Roush of Annapolis; and one brother, John Roush, and wife Linda of Cleveland, Ohio.

His family will receive friends on Friday from 2 p.m to 4 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Fletcher and Cremation Services at 254 East Main St. in Westminster. His funeral service will be held on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Westminster United Methodist Church, at 165 East Main St.

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