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Belmont School Committee member Dan Scharfman dies of a heart attack

Posted by Evan Allen  January 22, 2013 01:05 PM

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Belmont School Committee member Dan Scharfman died on Sunday night after suffering a heart attack last Tuesday, according to town officials and an obituary.

“The death of a friend is always an unfathomable loss, especially when the friend would seem by all expectations to have many more years ahead and many more contributions to make to the common good,” wrote Interim Superintendent Thomas S. Kingston in post dated Jan. 21 on his superintendent blog.

On Monday morning, Kingston wrote, he sent a message to district staff informing them of Scharfman's death.

“Dan was deeply devoted to the Town of Belmont and especially to the students of the Belmont Public Schools,” he wrote in that message. “The loss of his leadership is immense, as is the loss of his friendship and counsel… Just as Dan loved the community of Belmont and devoted so much attention to its well-being, the community of Belmont loved Dan, his vision, his gift of humor, his wisdom.”

Scharfman, 55, had been a member of the School Committee since 2010, according to the district website. He lived in Belmont with his wife, Merle Kummer, for almost 20 years, according to the site, and their children, Jacob and Rachel, are graduates of Belmont High School.

Scharfman was also a Precinct 1 Town Meeting member.

According to Town Clerk Ellen O’Brien Cushman, both Scharfman’s seats on the School Committee and Town Meeting were up for reelection this April.

Typically, she said, the School Committee would appoint someone to fill an empty committee seat until the next election, which will take place in Belmont on April 2. However, School Committee Chair Laurie Graham said that with so little time before the election, the committee is not yet sure what it will do, and has not yet discussed it.

"The community is just reeling from this," said Graham, who described Scharfman as a smart and funny man who was passionate about public service. "It's beyond dreadful, and a loss that affects a lot of people. We don't really know what we're gonna do."

Scharfman's Town Meeting seat will remain vacant until the election, said Cushman.

Funeral services for Scharfman will be held on Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Beth El Temple Center on Concord Avenue in Belmont, according to the obituary. The family will receive visitors in their home on Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Contributions may be made to The Dan Scharfman Education Fund, Belmont Savings Bank, at 2 Leonard Street in Belmont.

Evan Allen can be reached at evan.allen@globe.com

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