The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

State News

May 9, 2013

Former Pa. Gov. George Leader dies at 95

HARRISBURG — Former Pennsylvania Gov. George M. Leader, the son of a chicken farmer who was elected to the state’s highest office before he turned 40, died Thursday after a brief illness. He was 95.

Two grandchildren were at Leader’s side when he died at 5 a.m. at his home at the Country Meadows assisted-living center in Hershey, Kelly S. Kuntz, spokeswoman for Country Meadows, said.

A Democrat, Leader fought to rid government of patronage jobs and improve social services. Under his leadership, the state overhauled its mental health system and made special education a requirement in Pennsylvania schools. And, he was the first governor to appoint a black cabinet officer.

Leader was 37 when he took office as governor in 1955.

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