County executive dies at age 60
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz died of cardiac arrest early in the morning of May 10. He was 60.
Born in Lochearn, Maryland, the youngest of five born to Miriam and Irvin Kamenentz, Kamenetz worked in his father’s Overlea pharmacy in his youth.
He graduated from the Gilman School before earning a bachelor’s degree at Johns Hopkins University in 1979. He would go on to graduate from University of Baltimore School of Law and pass the state bar in 1982. He served as a prosecutor in the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office from 1982 to 1987.
For Kamenetz, his interest in politics began early on. He volunteered on political campaigns before serving on the Democratic State Central Committee for several terms.
He was first elected to the Baltimore County Council in 1994, going on to serve 16 years before being elected Baltimore County Executive in 2010.
Kamenetz was in his second term as County Executive when he died. As per the county charter, county administrator Fred Homan will become acting executive until the council appoints a replacement to fulfill the remaining months of Kamanetz’s term. A new county executive will be elected in November, taking office in December.
Kamenetz had been running in the Democratic primary in this year’s gubernatorial race at the time of his death.
Condolences began pouring in from across the state and county as the news spread Thursday morning.
U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D) released a statement, writing, “I am deeply saddened by the sudden death of County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. My heart is with his family and the entire Baltimore County community. Kevin dedicated himself to our community and his good works are all around us. He will be deeply missed.”
“I was shocked and incredibly saddened to hear the news this morning of Kevin’s passing. None of us know when the moment might come, but for Kevin, it was way too soon. He had so much more to offer and was in the prime of his career,” said U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, himself a former Baltimore County Executive.
“Some might say that Kevin was his own brand. But I was proud to call him my friend always. He was exceptionally smart, extremely principled and always did what he felt was in the best interest of his community,” Ruppersberger added.
Noting Kamenetz’s long political career, Ruppersberger also praised him as “an involved dad, a dedicated husband and a loyal friend.”
Gov. Larry Hogan (R) ordered flags be lowered today through sunset on the day of Kamenetz’s interment.
Calling Kamenetz a “dedicated public ser vant,” Hogan stated, “Our prayers go out to his wife, Jill, his sons Karson and Dylan, and to his entire family. In the difficult days to come, we will provide any support we possibly can to the Kamenetz family and the citizens of Baltimore County.”
Members of the Baltimore County Council also reacted upon learning of Kamenetz’s sudden death.
“I send my sympathy and condolences to the Kamenetz family. I was shocked to awaken to the news of the County Executive’s passing this morning,” Councilman Todd Crandell (R-7) said in a statement on Facebook.
“My service on the Council coincided with his tenure as Executive. County Executive Kamenetz was a strong and smart leader who provided 24 years of ser vice to Baltimore County. My prayers are with his family during this difficult time,” Councilman David Marks (R-5) noted on his Facebook page.
Councilwoman Cathy Bevins (D6), also reacted via Facebook, writing, “I am shocked and saddened by the sudden death of County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. County Executive Kamenetz was a dedicated public servant who gave 24 years of service to Baltimore County. I knew him to be a wonderful father and husband. My thoughts and prayers are with his entire family.”
Baltimore County Public Schools Interim Superintendent Verletta White also reacted to the sudden passing, stating, “First and foremost, my thoughts and prayers go out to the family of County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.”
“We are saddened and shocked by the news,” she added, noting, “Kevin was a tireless supporter of Baltimore County Public Schools, and I am thankful for his commitment and dedication to the children of Baltimore County.”
Kamenetz’s rivals in the Democratic primary for governor also released statements in the wake of his passing.
Rushern Baker, Prince George’s County Executive and gubernatorial candidate, reacted to the “terrible shocking and sad news,” noting that he had just seen Kamenetz the night before at a forum at Bowie State University.
“Over the past seven years, we worked together on critical pieces of legislation and shared goals for improving the education of Maryland children, achieving quality health care for all the state’s residents, and creating jobs and opportunity for our constituents,” Baker stated. “As much as Kevin was advocating for what was best for Baltimore County, he was also always looking out for all Marylanders.”
State Sen. Rich Madeleno, also a contender for governor, said in his statement, “Kevin’s story of growing up in Lochearn, working at his father’s drug store and ultimately rising to become Baltimore County Executive is a classic tale of Maryland grit and determination. His knowledge and dedication to all Marylanders will be sorely missed. Our deepest sympathies go out to Jill, his sons, and his family.”
“I’m incredibly saddened to learn of the passing of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. He dedicated his life to public service, to making a difference and he helped to move Maryland forward,” candidate Ben Jealous wrote. “My sincerest thoughts and prayers are with Jill and their two sons.”
Baltimore lawyer, candidate Jim Shea called Kamenetz’s death “a tremendous loss for Maryland,” noting, “He was a dedicated public servant, and I considered him a friend. My heart goes out to Jill and his family, along with his many friends and staff.”
Both the campaigns for Baker and Alec Ross announced that they would temporarily suspend campaign activity in the wake of Kamenetz’s passing.
Kevin Kamenetz is survived by his wife, Jill, and sons Karson and Dylan.
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz presented a citation to Fleming Senior Center director Cynthia Mingo and center council president Donald Jones last Thursday.