Donate to the Arlington Historical Preservation Fund in memory of Frank O’Leary. Your gift will honor Frank’s vision to build a first class Arlington Historical Museum. All funds donated will go directly to the ongoing restoration and renovation  of the Arlington Historical Museum. Click on the donate link here: Historic Arlington Historical Preservation Fund in Memory of Frank O’Leary

On June 7th, the Arlington Historical Society lost a very dear friend. Francis (Frank)  X. O’Leary, a champion of AHS and so many other causes,  passed away after  battling cancer for the past seven months. He faced his battle with cancer the same way he lived his life as an  optimist who believed that barriers could be overcome. His perseverance and energy created a legacy in Arlington, the county that became his home in 1969.

Frank was born in 1943. His father was a career army officer. As a result,  Frank grew up in many different locations, graduating from high school when his father was stationed in Germany. Frank attended Georgetown University, earning a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in economic theory. He received a State Department appointment as a Foreign Service Officer. Prior to becoming the treasurer of Arlington County, he served as president of Nova Research Associates.

In 1983, Frank, a member of the Democratic Party, was elected treasurer of Arlington County, Virginia, a position he held for eight terms, retiring in 2014.  He is noted for lowering the County’s tax delinquency rate from 9% to less than .5%, at the time the lowest rate in Arlington’s history. His success as treasurer led to,  he and his office staff receiving numerous awards, including the 1988–1989 Treasurer of the Year Award from the Treasurers’ Association of Virginia.

His successful career is legacy enough, but it was equally matched by his service to the community. He loved Arlington and unselfishly gave his time to accomplish projects that supported Arlington and its history. He was the founding member and treasurer of the Warren J. Stambaugh Memorial Foundation which provides funding for people with disabilities. He was actively involved in raising funds for  the USS Arlington. As a member of the Arlington County WWI Centennial Committee, he led a fundraiser that was largely responsible  for financing the war panels that surround the Clarendon War Memorial. He was a longtime member of the Arlington Optimist Club where he organized speakers and helped manage the yearly Christmas tree fundraiser.

Frank was a special friend to the Arlington Historical Society. He served on the AHS Board and coordinated a tribute to 9/11 at the Army Navy Country Club. He was a champion for the preservation and renovation of the Hume School and worked tirelessly seeking funding for this project. He conducted a fundraiser tribute to Warren G. Stambaugh with the donations  helping to fund a feasibility study of Hume School that launched the preservation /renovation project. In 2021, Frank was awarded the Cornelia B. Rose Award by AHS. This award is given to a person who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of history in Arlington County.

Frank was a force of nature. He loved his wife Linda and his family and especially enjoyed spending time with them and going on trips together. He had a large circle of friends and enjoyed meeting for lunch and regaling them with regular emails about his election predictions. He enjoyed sitting with friends watching the Commanders (Redskins) football team and hosting parties on his deck. He mentored many leaders in the county and was always available for a conversation. He will be missed greatly but his legacy will live on through his family and all the love and effort he spent making Arlington a better place to live. (Photo credit:

Donations to the Arlington Historical Society in his memory can be made here: Historic Arlington Historical Preservation Fund in Memory of Frank O’Leary

Frank O’Leary (left) and close friend, Jim Pebley, pose in World War I-era helmets at the June 28, 2018, Arlington Historical Society commemoration of the county’s participation in the war. (Photo by Peter F. Wehmann)

Frank O’Leary (right) being presented with AHS’s highest award, the Cornelia B. Rose Life Achievement Award in 2021 by Vice President, Dr. Gerald Haines. (Photo: AHS Collection)

A re-elect Frank O’Leary campaign sign from 1992. (AHS collection)

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