Mayor and City Remember The Honorable Reba S. McClanan

Mayor and City Remember The Honorable Reba S. McClanan
September 1, 2021

Mayor Robert M. "Bobby" Dyer remembers Reba S. McClanan as a powerful and dedicated member of the Virginia Beach City Council.

"As the newly incorporated City of Virginia Beach developed, Reba emerged as a passionate advocate for the beautification of outdoor spaces and public parks," he said. "I believe her legacy will live on here for many generations."

McClanan passed away on Sunday, Aug. 29. She spent 24 years in public service, starting with representing the former Princess Anne Borough from July 1980 to June 1992 and from July 1996 to June 1998. She then served as the Rose Hall District representative from July 1998 to December 2008. She was vice mayor from July 1984 to June 1986.

A former schoolteacher, McClanan and her husband, Glenn, moved to Virginia Beach in 1964. A champion for beautification and historic preservation, McClanan served terms as president of the Virginia Beach Council of Civic Organizations, the Virginia Beach Council of Garden Clubs, the Virginia Urban Forest Council and the Virginia Beach Friends of the Library. She was a founder of the Virginia Beach Clean Community Commission and a member of the boards of the Virginia Beautification Commission and the Tidewater Home Economics Association.

McClanan also served as chair of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission and the Southeastern Planning District Commission; and was active on the City's Historical Review Board and in the Friends of the Francis Land House.

More than 16 permitted wedding ceremonies and countless other occasions have been held in the Reba S. McClanan Fragrance Garden, which was named in her honor at Red Wing Park in 2008. The garden was created in 1972 as a project of the Virginia Beach Council of Garden Clubs to provide a public garden for sight-impaired individuals, and it contains beautiful plant materials selected for the fragrance of the foliage or blossom.

McClanan's contributions to her community have been recognized through numerous awards, including the Virginia Beach Human Rights Commission, the NAACP Image Award for Community Service, the "most Valuable Person Award" from the Princess Anne Plaza Civic League, and the Toastmasters District 66 Award for Leadership in Public Service.