The late chairman of the city’s Business Liaison Committee (TBLC), Robert Leggett, supported local businesses and helped the committee navigate its emerging role after the city hired its first economic development officer, said the rulers of Vienna.
A U.S. Coast Guard veteran who later became an analyst and senior executive at the Central Intelligence Agency, Leggett died of chronic lymphoma leukemia on July 16 at Inova Fairfax Hospital. He was 80 years old.
“He has actively helped connect struggling businesses with resources to help them survive the economic hardships of COVID, and that has made all the difference to their survival,” said Mayor Linda Colbert.
Born September 16, 1941, in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania to the late Lester and Faith Leggett, Robert Leggett became class president at Catasauqua High School in Pennsylvania and later graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. .
According to his family, he was vice president of his Coast Guard class, broke the basketball scoring record, and threw the only no-hitter in academy history.
He was inducted into the US Coast Guard Academy Athletics Hall of Fame in 1991 and named a “Distinguished Alumnus” at its 50th meeting in 2013.
During his third tour as a Coast Guard officer, Leggett was commanding officer of an 82-foot-long Coast Guard Cutter in Operation Market Time, a long-running operation during the Vietnam War that was intended to prevent North Vietnamese forces from sending troops. , supplies and war material in South Vietnam using rivers, ocean and coast. He then received the Bronze Star Medal with Combat V.
After his service in Vietnam, Leggett enrolled at Lehigh University, where he earned a Ph.D. in economy. While in college, he coached basketball at Lehigh University and taught economics at Lehigh and Lafayette College.
His work at the CIA initially focused on the Soviet Union’s economy and military capability. He later served as Liaison Officer for Congressional Affairs, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Global and Multilateral Affairs, and Academic Coordinator.
After retiring from the CIA, he worked as a program manager at consulting firms and as a consultant to the intelligence community and law enforcement.
Vienna City Council appointed Leggett to the TBLC in 2017 and he became its president three years later.
“Bob cared deeply about the business community,” said Natalie Monkou, Vienna’s economic development manager. “He understood the value of TBLC’s institutional knowledge and made it a point to foster collaboration between TBLC and the Office of Economic Development to resolve issues and define emerging roles.”
Leggett was “truly a treasure and an asset to the city of Vienna” who enjoyed attending grand openings of new businesses, said Peggy James, executive director of the Vienna Business Association.
Leggett has always been enthusiastic about presenting the Carole Wolfand Community Service Award to a civic-minded local business at the mayor’s annual volunteer recognition event, she said.
For the past two years, Leggett has championed mentorship between local businesses and high school students through the WINGS program at James Madison High School, James said.
“He was very dedicated to providing opportunities for young people with the goal of helping them find their way in life through local work opportunities,” she said.
Mayor Colbert said his relationship with Leggett went beyond simply focusing on municipal governance matters.
“I enjoyed talking and laughing with Bob on various topics and I think we really enjoyed each other’s company,” she said. “He was a good man, and I will miss him dearly.”
Leggett has coached and managed numerous Vienna Little League teams and Vienna and McLean youth basketball teams.
He was married to Carol (Burkholder) Leggett for 57 years. She worked at the Washington Post for 38 years and served as executive assistant to famed editor Ben Bradlee for 25 of those years.
Leggett was predeceased by his brother George and son Greg Leggett. He is survived by his wife; his daughter Beth Sokohl of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; son Chris Leggett of Vienna; and grandchildren Tucker, Ella and Greysen Leggett.
Services will be held July 22 at 11 a.m. at the Presbyterian Church in Vienna, followed by a reception at the Westwood Country Club in Vienna.
Donations can be made to the Bob Leggett Memorial Fund, 127 Center Street, South, Vienna, Va. 22180, which will be used for projects in Vienna that Leggett had supported. For more information, visit www.viennava.gov/LeggettMemorial.