Friends and family of Dr. Ralph Van Brocklin recently gathered along with Johnson City Commissioners and city staff to mark the second anniversary of Van Brocklin’s untimely passing. During a short ceremony, an overlook next to the quarry located near the 3-mile marker on the Tweetsie Trail was dedicated to Van Brocklin’s memory.
Van Brocklin passed away on Sept. 8, 2018, while jogging on the Tweetsie Trail, a project he championed and saw through to completion during his time on the City Commission. It’s safe to say the trail was one of his greatest accomplishments during his time in city government, but it was hardly his only positive contribution to Johnson City.
Van Brocklin, an oral surgeon, served on the Johnson City School Board from 2007-2011 before being elected to the City Commission and serving until his death. He served as the city’s mayor from 2013-2015 and championed outdoor recreation, public education and the animal shelter, among other causes.
At Tuesday’s ceremony, current Johnson City Mayor Jenny Brock spoke along with City Manager Pete Peterson and school board member Jonathan Kinnick. Brock and Van Brocklin worked side-by-side on the commission to accomplish several key tasks, and Kinnick has credited Van Brocklin for encouraging him to run for a seat on the school board in the first place.
A plaque that was unveiled during last Tuesday’s ceremony provides details about Van Brocklin’s life, service and the legacy he left in Johnson City.