San Ramon resident John T. Nejedly, the Valley's longtime representative on the Contra Costa Community College District governing board, died in New Orleans last weekend, and the circumstances of his death remain unconfirmed.
The 52-year-old Nejedly was staying in New Orleans while attending a community college trustees' conference with other Contra Costa district officials, according to district public information officer Timothy Leong.
Leong said the district has not received an official statement regarding the cause or circumstances surrounding Nejedly's death.
Officials with the New Orleans Police Department and the Orleans Parish Coroner had not responded to requests for comment as of Tuesday evening.
"Our prayers and sympathies are with the Nejedly family and friends," Contra Costa board president Vicki Gordon said in a statement Monday evening. "Mr. Nejedly's long tenure on the board demonstrated his support of the community college mission. He will be missed."
District chancellor Helen Benjamin said, "We are saddened and shocked by his passing and will miss his consistent, rational approach to issues facing the district. The success of our students was his top priority."
Benjamin and Leong attended the Association of Community College Trustees Leadership Congress with Nejedly, but they left New Orleans early Saturday morning before the conference officially ended that day while Nejedly stayed behind, according to Leong. It was not immediately clear when Nejedly died.
Also an attorney and contractor, Nejedly was the longest-tenured board member and in the middle of his sixth consecutive term representing the San Ramon Valley and other nearby communities.
"Trustee Nejedly was the only board member who worked on the passage of all three district bond campaigns: Measures A 2002 and 2006, and Measure E 2014," said fellow board member John Márquez, who served on the board with Nejedly for six years.
"His construction knowledge and experience provided a sound and critical voice as we modernized our campus facilities to improve the learning environment for students," Márquez added.
Nejedly completed his undergraduate studies with a degree in construction management from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and later earned a law degree from the John F. Kennedy University School of Law. He was a member of the California State Bar, a California-licensed real estate broker and licensed general engineering contractor.
He was first elected to the community college district board in 1994. He represented Ward 4, which included San Ramon, Danville, Blackhawk, Diablo, Byron, Discovery Bay and parts of Alamo, Antioch, Brentwood, Clayton and Concord.
Nejedly was only the fourth person to represent Ward 4 on the board in the district's 68-year history, being preceded by O.J. Wohlgemuth, Haman Howard and Lee Winters.
A resident of San Ramon, Nejedly had three children and enjoyed spending time in the mountains and playing golf, according to Leong.
Nejedly's late father, John A. Nejedly, was a former California state senator, a Republican who represented Contra Costa County communities in the State Senate from 1969-80. Nejedly's siblings are also elected officials in the area: Contra Costa County Supervisor Mary Piepho and Central Contra Costa Sanitary District (Central San) board member James A. Nejedly.