The man who led Clay County's economic development efforts for 12 years died while on vacation on the island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.
A swimming accident claimed the life of 76-year-old Orien Pass on Tuesday.
Orange Park Town Hall Manager John Bowles knew Pass for 38 years.
"Orien was Mr. Clay County when it came to economic development," Bowles said. "It was not just a job to him, it was a love, it was a passion."
Pass called Clay County home since 1972.
He served as executive director of the Clay County Development Authority from 1990 until 2002.
"Very much an outgoing person," Bowles said. "I don't think he ever met a stranger. He was very personable."
He helped bring 2,000 jobs to Clay County and played a key role in the 2004 effort to extend the sale of alcoholic beverages in the county, which was approved in 2012.
Pass also served on the town's planning and zoning board at different times and was a member of the Orange Park Rotary Club.
"Just a tremendous loss certainly for the family, but a tremendous loss for all the friends and the people in Clay County he worked with and so forth," Bowles said.
No funeral arrangements have been made as Pass' wife of 11 years is still in Tortola.