Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District Board President J. Dietrich Stroeh died unexpectedly last night in his sleep, bridge district officials said Wednesday.
Stroeh, an 80-year-old Novato resident, was appointed to the board in 1997 and served on committees including the finance committee, which he chaired.
He also worked as general manager of the Marin Municipal Water District and served on the Bank of Marin Board during his career in public service.
Sabrina Hernandez, the board's first vice president, will step in as acting president.
Marin County Supervisor and bridge board member Judy Arnold said she had also worked with Stroeh on the downtown Novato Theater restoration project and on flooding issues in Novato, and was deeply saddened by hisdeath.
"His accomplishments and contributions to Marin County and Novato are stellar," Arnold said. "Diet was an irreplaceable community leader and friend and I will miss him dearly."
Bridge Board member Brian Sobel called Stroeh a "towering figure in North Bay politics," and credited him with getting a water pipeline built across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge during a drought in the 1970s.
"Diet epitomized the idea of giving back selflessly," Sobel said. "His kind of determination to do good, with excellent public discourse and debate, is an example to all of us."