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Former Greencastle mayor Pensinger dies

June 18, 2007|by JENNIFER FITCH

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Friends say the former Greencastle mayor who died Saturday left his mark on the community in many ways beyond the visible, colorful mural he and his wife commissioned for the Pa. 16 railroad underpass.

Robert L. "Red" Pensinger was "one of the most well-liked individuals in the community. I've never heard anybody say anything negative about him," said Bonnie A. Shockey, the president of the local museum Pensinger helped to establish in the mid-1990s.

Pensinger, 74, battled with cancer and had many visitors to his bedside over the past six weeks.

"I wanted him to visit with as many people as possible," said his wife, Nancy. One visitor asked her if she realizes how many people loved her husband.

"He had done a lot of good for a lot of people," friend Don Coldsmith said.

Pensinger, an insurance agent, established the Greencastle-Antrim community's Fourth of July celebrations; worked with Little League and the Boy Scouts; served the Chamber of Commerce; and was active with Grace United Church of Christ. He was elected to a four-year term as mayor in 2001.

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"I know he gave everything he could to help Greencastle," Coldsmith said.

The Pensingers were frequently seen downtown with their golden retriever, often walking three to five miles a day and greeting friends.

"The community and his family were his whole life," said Barbara Bock, a 40-year friend who was council president during Pensinger's mayoral tenure.

The town's needs were typically put above his own, she said.

"I think his legacy as mayor was that he cared so much about the community and the people in the community," Bock said.

"Red had a passion for the Greencastle-Antrim community for as long as I'd known him," Shockey said.

Pensinger's leadership style was "very forceful, but very humane," said Coldsmith, who befriended Pensinger in third grade.

The pair played several sports together and shared an interest in photography in their youth. Later in life, Pensinger enjoyed traveling and being "papa" to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Pensinger liked to be busy and had a desire to contribute to the town where he made his living, Nancy Pensinger said.

"He loved Greencastle and felt Greencastle had been good to him, so he wanted to give back," Coldsmith said.

"We had a wonderful life together," Nancy Pensinger said. "We really did."

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