Longtime Ward 8 activist James Bunn died Thursday, the Informer reports. Bunn, the father of two sons and mayoral deputy chief of staff Sheila Bunn, ran Congress Heights Main Streets and the Ward 8 Business Council. He was 71, according to Doxie McCoy, a spokeswoman for Mayor Vince Gray.

Bunn rented space to businesses in his Bunn Building on Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE. In a statement on Bunn’s death, Gray described him as “one of the finest public servants in Ward 8.”

Bunn was also an associate of Mayor-for-Life-turned-Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry, notarizing the incorporation forms for the nonprofits that featured prominently in Barry’s 2009 earmarking scandal. The forms were later challenged as featuring forged signatures, including one from a person who didn’t exist.

Yesterday, Barry recalled seeing his friend at Anacostia restaurant Georgena’s earlier this week. “Number one, he’s my constituent,” says Barry. “But number two, he’s my friend. So we’re going to miss him.”

Additional reporting by Aaron Wiener. Photo courtesy Sheila Bunn.