Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency officials confirmed Thursday night the death of the board’s vice president, Jerry Gladbach. He was 82 years old.
Gladbach had served on the SCV Water Agency board since its inception in 2018 and represented Division 2 – a district whose boundaries include most of Saugus, as well as northeastern portions of Valencia and northern portions of Canyon Country.
Kathie Martin, a spokeswoman for SCV Water, confirmed that Gladbach had died on Wednesday, but his cause of death was not immediately known. However, colleagues called it shocking and a loss for a community he had served for decades.
“We lost a dear friend and vital member of our board,” said SCV Water Board President Gary Martin. “Jerry was one of the most knowledgeable and accomplished water professionals in the state and we were fortunate to have him here serving the SCV community for the last 37 years.”
“He was just such a wealth of knowledge, but he had personal relationships with everyone,” said Maria Gutzeit, representative for District 3. “He was a very kind man, and just very personable. I knew him the whole time that I served, since 2003, and he was just a fixture: both at the Association of California Water Agencies and, obviously, in our valley.”
Moving to the Santa Clarita Valley in 1968, Gladbach had received his master of science and bachelor of science degrees from the University of Missouri – Columbia and was a registered professional engineer in California and a “Fellow” Life Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
In January 1985, he was elected to the board of the Castaic Lake Water Agency — which later merged with the Newhall County Water District to form SCV Water — while also becoming very active with state and national water organizations, according to the SCV Water website.
Gladbach was a member of the board of directors of the National Water Resources Association and president of the board of directors of the Association of California Water Agencies – Joint Powers Insurance Authority.
In addition to his 35 years of employment at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, he was also the ACWA vice president, chaired its Region 8 board, the Energy Committee, and was a member of its Business Development Corporation.
Gladbach chaired the Local Agency Formation Commission for Los Angeles County and was presented with the commission’s “Most Outstanding Commissioner Award” in 2013.
“One of the hallmarks of Jerry’s life of service was his deep and durable involvement in the many organizations he participated in,” said SCV Water General Manager Matt Stone. “It was truly a lifelong commitment over many decades of service.”
“Jerry is the embodiment of a public servant,” said Stone’s assistant general manager, Steve Cole. “Personally, he has always been very kind to me. I would not be where I am today without his encouragement and support.”
Gladbach is survived by his wife Donna, three children and six grandchildren.