Geraldine Whiting, 76, who was Arlington County commissioner of revenue from 1978 until her retirement in 2003, died of pneumonia Nov. 12 at Rappahannock General Hospital in Kilmarnock, Va. A former longtime resident of Arlington, she lived in Heathsville, Va.
Mrs. Whiting, who was first elected in a special election in 1978 and reelected in 1979, was the first female commissioner of revenue in Arlington and the first female Virginia constitutional officer. During her tenure, she acted to simplify and streamline tax payments reduce and eliminate unfair taxes and decrease paperwork.
She established the first business tax audit program in Virginia, which became the statewide model. She also was instrumental in having the state code changed to allow Virginia localities to simplify the personal property tax by adopting a "filing by exception" procedure for motor vehicles to eliminate the need to file annual personal property tax returns.
She championed the strict home-occupancy ordinance that legalized in-home businesses and actively educated small-business owners about their tax obligations. She conducted tax administration and educational programs for groups of tax professionals in Arlington and elsewhere in the state.
In the 1980s, when Arlington and the state of Virginia were studying pay equity, she joined with the Arlington Commission on the Status of Women in persuading those bodies to include clerical staff in the studies.
A resident of Arlington for 50 years, Mrs. Whiting was a community activist and owned a small business before taking elective office. She coached girls' basketball and other sports at St. James and St. Agnes Catholic schools. She also helped set up group homes for teenagers in Arlington and was financial officer for First Step for Arlington Youth.
Mrs. Whiting, who was known as Gerri, was born in Toledo. She came to the Washington area with her father, former Ohio representative Thomas H. Burke (D), for whom she worked as a secretary in his surveying company.
She was past president of the Virginia Commissioners of the Revenue Association and a member of the International Association of Assessing Officers.
She was on the board of directors of the Virginia Association of Assessing Officers and a member of the Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority's advisory commission.
She received numerous awards, including the Virginia Woman of Achievement in Government Award (1985), the Distinguished Service Award from the Virginia Association of Assessing Officers (1986) and the Woman of the Year Award from the Arlington Business and Professional Women's Club Service (1987).
Her husband, Dwight E. Whiting, died in 1978.
Survivors include six children, Ronald Whiting of Sterling Park, Dennis Whiting of Wauseon, Ohio, James Whiting and Judy Manuel, both of Arlington, Dion Whiting of Tampa and Maureen Fox of Woodbridge; two brothers, Thomas Burke of Tampa and Patrick Burke of Colorado Springs; 10 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.