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Former commissioner honored with portrait

November 25, 1998

Ausherman portraitBy DON AINES / Staff Writer, Chambersburg

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer




CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Even after his retirement from the Franklin County Board of Commissioners in 1992, Joe Ausherman was a familiar face at the county courthouse.

Now, more than a year after his death at the age of 70, Ausherman's picture was put in place at the courthouse Tuesday afternoon as colleagues, friends and family watched.

"Joe was an individual who was very special to Franklin County," said G. Warren Elliott, chairman of the board of commissioners. He served with Ausherman when Elliott was appointed to serve an interim term on the board in 1997.

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"Joe taught me how to be a commissioner. He took me under his wing. He was kind, he was patient, he was genuine. You always knew where he stood," said Elliott, who was elected to the board in 1995.

Ausherman served as a county commissioner from 1960 to 1968 before returning to his real estate business.

In 1983 he was appointed to fill a vacancy on the board and was subsequently re-elected to two more four-year terms.

During his second stint on the board, it initiated 911 service and built a human services building and a prison annex, among other improvements, according to Pennsylvania State Sen. Terry Punt.

"Joe was a great inspiration to me, and (he was) my mentor," County Treasurer Steve Minnich said.

Minnich and Elliott came up with the idea for the portrait about three months ago.

As Ausherman would have wanted, no taxpayer money went into the oil painting by Waynesboro artist Donna Bingaman, Minnich said. Friends and colleagues put up the $750.

This is the second portrait by Bingaman to be hung in the courthouse. She also painted a former president judge.

Ausherman served as a mentor to Punt and many other members of a younger generation of Republicans. A slimmed-down Punt, making his first public appearance since suffering a mild heart attack last month, said the Waynesboro man was the first elected official he ever knew.

"The family really appreciates it and I know Joe would, too. He really enjoyed public service. He was a real people person," said his widow, Carolyn Ausherman.

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