The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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August 24, 2011

Herbert Pfuhl Jr.: 1928-2011

’Served with dignity’ as 6-term city mayor

— The Johnstown region said farewell Tuesday to one of its finest citizens and leaders.

Longtime Johnstown Mayor Herb Pfuhl was eulogized and then laid to rest at Grandview Cemetery Mausoleum.

Pfuhl had served the city during some of its most challenging times

– during and after the flood of 1977, and as the region’s steel industry was faltering and the population declining.

He died Aug. 18 at 83.

Pfuhl helped guide Johnstown through its transitions from “commission” government to council and strong mayor to city manager.

He left office in 1993, having served six terms as a Republican mayor in a Democratic city – the longest tenure the city has ever seen.

Johnstown businessman and state Republican Party Chairman Rob Gleason called Pfuhl’s longevity in office “a shining example of effective leadership that rises above the embers of partisanship.”

We offer our condolences to Pfuhl’s family – Phyllis, his wife of 64 years; children Barbara, Debra, Herbert III, Paula and Dawna; and many others including numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

And we offer condolences also to Pfuhl’s friends, colleagues and admirers in the Johnstown cultural, historical and political circles.

Many of those individuals remembered Pfuhl as a man who stood tall during challenging moments and who worked well with state and federal leaders to bring support to Johnstown.

That included bringing in funding for economic development efforts in the city.

Pfuhl helped bring the National Folk Festival to Johnstown in 1990.

That event became FolkFest and then AmeriServ Flood City Music Festival.

“Herb really worked for Johnstown,” said Richard Burkert, president of the Johnstown Area Heritage Association, which produces the music festival.

Don Zucco, who followed Pfuhl as mayor, said of his friend and predecessor: “He was in charge during a very, very complicated period. I think he served with dignity, and I think he did a good job.”

Others remember the younger Herb Pfuhl – a teacher in the Ferndale-Dale School District and a beloved coach.

Pfuhl was a graduate of both Johnstown High School and the University of Pittsburgh. He was a World War II Navy veteran and a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard.

His affiliations included Bethany Presbyterian Church, American Legion Post 849, and the Cambria County Republican Committee.

In February 1993, when announcing that he would not seek another term as mayor, Pfuhl said: “I love my family, I love my city, I love this job. And I really feel I’ve been pretty good at it.”

May the memory of Herbert Pfuhl Jr. inspire the next generation of Johnstown leaders to move this city forward as he would – through dedication, passion and vision.

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