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Family, friends say farewell to Redding

May 25, 2007|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - About 300 people gathered Friday in the sanctuary of Corpus Christi Catholic Church to say a final farewell to Mayor John A. Redding Jr., who died Monday from complications following heart bypass surgery.

Friends and family were joined by those who came to know Redding from the many capacities in which he had served the community - as mayor, councilman, former chairman of the Letterkenny Industrial Development Authority, former senior official with the Depot System Command and devout member of his church.

Considering the many complimentary stories that appeared in the news media following his father's death, "I'm quite surprised his Holiness the Pope wasn't here," son Patrick Redding joked in his speech during the Mass of Christian burial.

Patrick Redding, an attorney, described his father as "a kind, loving, patient and caring husband, father and grandfather," and a faithful and loyal friend. His father "faced death with dignity," he said.

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"How blessed I was because John Redding was my dad," he said.

Pallbearers for Redding included Police Chief Michael T. DeFrank, Borough Manager Eric Oyer, LIDA Executive Director John Van Horn, Franklin County District Attorney John F. Nelson and Borough Council President William McLaughlin.

John Redding, 76, had served on the borough council for a decade before being elected mayor in 2005. He had been director of Personnel Training and Force Development for DESCOM at Letterkenny Army Depot until his retirement in 1987.

When the Base Realignment and Closure Commission declared approximately 1,400 acres of the depot as excess property, Redding was in on the ground floor in establishing LIDA to manage the transfer of the land to private sector use.

"When he was the vice chairman (of LIDA) I was the first employee," Bob Ziobrowski said.

"John grasped the fact that whatever decisions LIDA made were like a stone thrown in the water. The concentric waves emanating outward affected many other entities" and the greater community, Ziobrowski said.

"John was the right man at the right time. He was a great mayor, but much more than that," Councilman Allen Coffman said.

"He brought another perspective to it with his personnel background," said Councilman Glenn Manns, a retired borough police officer who recalled dealing with Redding when he served on the council's Personnel Committee.

"When you disagreed with John ... He disagreed with dignity," Manns said. "You were friends before it and friends after it."

"He was a friend, confidante and personal advisor," Oyer said.

McLaughlin has assumed the duties of mayor until council makes an interim appointment, something it has to do within a month of the vacancy, Oyer said. The political parties will choose candidates to run for the office in the November election, he said.

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