U.S. Rep. A. Donald McEachin ’86, a University of Virginia School of Law alumnus who was reelected to his fourth term in Congress this month, died Monday of colorectal cancer. He was 61. McEachin, a Democrat representing Virginia’s 4th District, devoted more than 20 years to serving the people of Virginia. He was first elected to the House of Delegates in 1995, serving three terms, and also served two terms in the state Senate before deciding to run for Congress. In the General Assembly, he championed gun control measures and legislation to close substandard landfills and to create the Offshore Wind Development Authority. In Congress, he worked on issues aimed at helping the indigent, improving the environment, expanding access to health care, and national defense and the military workforce.

He described his path to public service and his career in a talk at UVA Law while receiving the inaugural UVA Black Law Students Association Alumni Spotlight Award in 2018.


S. Bernard Goodwyn ’86, now chief justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia, met McEachin the first day of law school and the two have been close friends since.


“In law school, we often talked of our dream to serve the commonwealth of Virginia and our desire to do what we could to make it a better place than we found it,” Goodwyn said. “Don lived his dream to serve. He was a gentle giant with a keen intellect and an obvious passion for helping others. He was a great lawyer and a dedicated, hard-working public servant who was passionate, tireless and relentless in his service to the commonwealth of Virginia and our nation.”