Longtime taxpayer advocate Reed Royalty, founding chief executive officer and former president of the Orange County Taxpayers Association (OCTax), passed away January 7, the association announced. The association did not identify the cause of death.

Royalty helped found OCTax in 1986 and served as its president and CEO until his retirement in 2012. Royalty often worked in partnership with CalTax and other organizations to support good tax policy.

“Reed spent decades fighting the good fight for taxpayers, and his tireless work improved the lives of Californians,” retired CalTax President Teresa Casazza said. “Beyond being an articulate advocate for good tax policy, he was a kind man who was the first to volunteer his expertise, and the last to take credit.”

Carolyn Cavecche, OCTax’s current CEO, said: “I knew I had huge shoes to fill when I came to OCTax in 2012. Reed was generous with his knowledge, expertise and passion for serving. Orange County has lost a tremendous servant leader.”

Prior to his work with the taxpayer association, Royalty spent many years as a legislative advocate and later Southern California vice president for AT&T, was the founding vice president of AirTouch Cellular (now Verizon Wireless) and a founder of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association in Washington, D.C.

He also served as a three-time chairman of the Orange County Employees’ Retirement System, and as president of Reed Royalty Public Affairs Inc., a government relations firm with many clients in Orange and San Diego counties.

Royalty, a Navy ROTC honors graduate of Harvard University, served in the Navy as a surface ship executive officer and a submarine engineer officer. “Not surprisingly, he was ranked in the top 1 percent of Navy shiphandlers during his years of service to our country,” OCTax wrote in a memorial.

In honor of the association’s longtime leader, the association presents the Royalty Award each year to the person or entity that has a legacy of supporting taxpayers in Orange County.