Longtime Alexander Co. County Manager has died at age 70

Rick French served the county for more than 20 years.
Richard “Rick” Louis French, County Manager in Alexander County, died Dec. 24
Richard “Rick” Louis French, County Manager in Alexander County, died Dec. 24(Alexander County)
Published: Dec. 27, 2022 at 11:21 AM EST
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TAYLORSVILLE, N.C. (WBTV) - Richard “Rick” Louis French, County Manager in Alexander County, died Dec. 24 following an extended illness, representatives with the county announced. He was 70 years old.

French served the citizens of Alexander County since April 1999, for a total of almost 24 years of dedicated service according to a press release issued by the county.

Prior to his many years of service in Alexander County, he was county manager in Lincoln County from 1993-1998, city manager in Newton from 1988-1993, city administrator in Hamlet from 1986-1988, town manager in Mebane from 1983-1986, and town manager in Huntersville from 1976-1983.

In total, French served 46 years as a government leader, in addition to his earlier years of local government experience as he worked his way up the career ladder.

French earned his master’s degree from Appalachian State University and was a member of the Yosef club for more than 20 years.

He leaves behind his wife of 43 years, Kathy; son Hunter and his girlfriend, Jacqui; son Parker and his wife, Evie; and grandchildren Zinnia, Phoebe and Miller.

“Rick French will always be remembered as a dedicated public servant and leader here in Alexander County. It’s hard to comprehend that he is no longer with us on this earth, but he was a man of faith, so that gives us comfort during this difficult time,” said Ronnie Reese, Chairman of the Alexander County Board of Commissioners, in a prepared statement. “Rick did so much to improve Alexander County as a whole, but also to enhance the lives of our citizens. Most people can’t comprehend his long hours and hard work week in and week out. Our hearts and sympathy go out to his amazing family. Rick will be truly missed in Alexander County, but he will never be forgotten.”

Most recently, he served as Chairman of the Alexander County Economic Development Corporation. He also served on the county’s Historic Preservation Committee. Regionally, he served as chairman of the Vaya Health Board of Directors and the Greenway Public Transportation Board of Directors.

Some of his major accomplishments include the planning and creation of Rocky Face Mountain Recreational Area; working with county commissioners to build the new Alexander County Courthouse Park; expanding library access and more.

French was an avid runner completing three 100-mile road races, approximately 50 ultra-marathons, and 198 marathons.

He was also race director for more than 50 races during his lifetime, including numerous races in Alexander County. One of the newest races he directed is the USA Track & Field 6/12/24-Hour race at Alexander Central High School, which attracted runners from across the country as well as Canada.

His family, according to his obituary, has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Alexander County c/o Rocky Face Recreational Area, 621 Lileodoun Road, Taylorsville, NC 28681.

Rick French’s full obituary may be found here.