Remembering Rebecca Coder
It is with great sadness that we tell you that Rebecca Coder, a founding Village board member, died this week from complications related to cancer. She was 49.
The home going and life celebration service for her will be Thursday, May 10, at 10 a.m. at St. Stephen the Martyr Catholic Church, 25th and Pennsylvania Ave NW.
There will be a reception and story sharing event following the service at RIS, 23rd and L Street NW. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Rebecca’s amazing life with her family and friends.
Here is what members of the FBWE community have said about her.
Rebecca in the Village
Rebecca was our youngest Village member, yet she was instrumental in helping the Village open by teaching us how to apply for the grant that now pays our rent at St Paul’s and that is just for openers.
She was a founding board member and treasurer, who put in long hours behind the scenes for more than two years to open the Village. She was passionate about our mission and always made time in her busy schedule to help us.
She set up everything that has to do with Village finances as well as drafted our original policies in that area.
She was wise in the ways of both the city and federal government, who knew what the city required of us. Thanks to her, we were able to open as a legal non-profit before the IRS had approved our application.
Most of us knew little about the Advisory Neighborhood Commission of which she was an elected member and its powers. Rebecca made sure we learned and introduced us to the rest of the commissioners. That really paid off for us in terms of getting the grants that got us going.
She offered wise and informed opinions that were fair and just when we had to tackle thorny policy issues.
We will always remember Rebecca’s beautiful smile, her cheery attitude, plus her wicked sense of humor and how she loved to laugh.
-- Mary Bernstein
A great neighbor and volunteer
Rebecca and her husband Chris Haspel moved to the West End, at 2501 M Street, in 2002. Most of us knew her—and loved her—through one or another of her service roles, rather than through her professional career. For the last 15 years she was a senior vice president at National Capital Bank, which she joined in 1995.
Rebecca loved food and wine and friends ... traveling to Italy and France and the British Isles.. and living in this urban neighborhood.
She was a founder of our Friends of Francis Field group, and our first president. When we needed some political muscle to get things done, she ran for public office—a seat on the Advisory Neighborhood Commission for the Foggy Bottom/West End district, known for short as ANC-2A.
When first elected, Rebecca’s single-member ANC district included the entire West End, which was rapidly becoming more residential and up-scale.
She was heavily involved in the zoning case for the WestEnd25 building on 25th Street, and in the redevelopment of the West End Library. Our new fire station at 23rd and M was another of the projects that she shepherded through the approval process. She introduced the legislation for the creation of Duke Ellington Park, and helped to keep what was then Francis Junior High School from being closed.
Perhaps more importantly, Rebecca also spent countless hours on the mundane, and little-noticed things: public-space hearings, zoning variances, liquor-license applications and challenges—things that meant the world to some obscure constituent or another, but were otherwise ignored.
Rebecca grew up in Chevy Chase, D.C., and graduated from Woodrow Wilson Senior High. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she majored in political science. Then came a successful banking career and years of non-paid, non-partisan service on the ANC.
She wasn’t a politician. She was something much more rare—a volunteer—and a good neighbor ... the best, I think, that one could ever wish for.
-- Gary Griffith