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Retired Greencastle mayor to remain busy

January 13, 2006|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

GREENCASTLE, PA.

bonnieb@herald-mail.com

The former mayor of Greencastle said that the only contact he expects to have with politics in the future is voting.

Robert "Red" Pensinger, 72, served as the 3,750-resident town's mayor for four years. He won both the Democratic and Republic nominations in the May 2005 primary, then withdrew his name.

Pensinger's involvement with the community he was born in will not cease, however. He serves on the board of directors of the First National Bank of Greencastle and on the board of the Greencastle-Antrim Foundation, which oversees the John L. Grove Medical Center. He delivers Meals on Wheels for the local Senior Center.

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Pensinger and his wife of 52 years, Nancy, walked for health and enjoyment before walking was fashionable. They continue their 30-year habit of a daily walk through the town. If their golden retriever, Ginger, is not with them, people ask about her.

"She's part of the family," Pensinger said.

The Pensingers have two children, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

The accomplishment of which Pensinger is most proud during his term as mayor is that the police became more visible to the community.

"A lot of Greencastle people tell me they're glad to see the police out and about more, talking to residents who are out walking," Pensinger said.

His basic role as mayor was promoting the community in a positive way, he added.

He sees a good side to growth in the area.

"The borough cannot physically grow much more unless it annexes land," he said. "As long as we have Old Home Week, we'll have the small-town flavor. The building planned around the town will affect it. People will come through here. The merchants need this, but it has to be managed in a positive way."

Pensinger said he would like to see the borough and Antrim township "as one government, for economics' sake. It's too expensive to have two separate governments to provide services people require and demand such as sewer, water and police.

"I know there are people who think Greencastle can operate with a part-time police force, but I don't agree. The citizens of Greencastle and the surrounding area deserve full-time police protection. That's part of what they're paying their tax dollars for. Six years ago, we had four full-time officers plus a full-time chief. Council decided to go with more part-time help. In Greencastle, the mayor doesn't have a vote, so all you can do is express your opinion."

Pensinger retired in 1997 from 32 years as a State Farm Insurance agent in Greencastle. Prior to that, he was an egg peddler in suburban Washington, D.C. ("I considered that part of my education"); a milk deliveryman in Greencastle and Chambersburg, a school bus driver and an employee of The Herald-Mail Co.

From 1960 to 1965, Pensinger built circulation of the newpaper in Franklin and Fulton counties, where it previously had been available only on newsstands, he said.

About 40 paperboys and several motor route carriers worked for him, he said.

Barbara Bock, borough council president during Pensinger's time as mayor, said that he was "a wonderful representative for the residents of the borough of Greencastle. He attended every meeting, he gave us good input, and his opinion was very-highly appreciated. He always came with his facts and figures.

"He will be missed," she said.

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