Former Pa. Sen. Punt dies at 60

December 28, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- Former Pa. State Sen. Terry Punt died Monday, leaving grieving friends with only memories of the lifelong public servant.

"I lost a friend today, no doubt about that," said former Pa. Rep. Patrick Fleagle.

"He will be missed," said Mike Christopher, manager of Washington Township (Pa.).

Details of Punt's death were unavailable Monday, with the Franklin County coroner and Summit Health claiming no connection to the case.

Representatives of Grove-Bowersox Funeral Home in Waynesboro confirmed that they will handle the funeral arrangements.

Punt, 60, a graduate of Waynesboro Area Senior High School, served for 30 years in the Pennsylvania Legislature, casting a long and revered shadow on Franklin County in the form of roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects.

"He was a fabulous, fabulous statesman," Christopher said. "It was unbelievable how he could locate funding for projects."

Punt's achievements in office stood out to those who worked alongside him. Among the highlights were securing $34 million to widen U.S. 30 to five lanes east of Chambersburg, Pa., and a truck-climbing lane on Pa. 16 east of Rouzerville, Pa.


Lots of asphalt and concrete were laid during Punt's 10 years in the House representing Franklin County and his 20 years in the Senate representing Franklin, Adams and York counties, Christopher said.

Punt also worked to improve the relationship between Pennsylvania and its military depots, said Franklin County Commissioner Bob Thomas.

"People don't realize the challenges that come with being a public servant, and if you don't have the heart for it, it can be tough," Thomas said. "Terry had the heart for it. He had a penchant for making his community better."

Punt, a Republican, at one time chaired the state Senate Transportation Committee. He also secured scores of state grants and loans, including $16 million to renovate the Majestic Theater in Gettysburg, Pa.; $2.5 million for the Capitol Theatre Center in Chambersburg; $3.3 million for the Trinity House in Waynesboro; $3.3 million to upgrade Waynesboro's sewage treatment plant; and $2.1 million for the state welcome center in State Line, Pa. He also secured $7.6 million in community revitalization grants.

Most recently, he secured funding to replace traffic signals on Pa. 16 and realign Center Square in Waynesboro.

"There is not a person in Franklin County who did not benefit in a positive way from his legislative career," Fleagle said.

Thomas said Punt was more than a statesman; he was a concerned citizen. Thomas said Punt helped him get elected to the Franklin County Commission in 1995.

Having worked his way up the political ladder, Punt was always willing to give his time to help political newcomers, said state Rep. Todd Rock, R-Franklin.

"He went out of his way after I was elected to help me with contacts or in any way he could," Rock said. "He taught me that whether you agree or disagree with a person, you treat them with respect. He was very good at that."

While Punt struggled with some health and personal issues that forced him to end his political career in 2008, few realized the severity of his condition, Fleagle said.

Punt's family was unavailable for comment Monday.

Terry Punt

o Born in 1949 in Waynesboro, Pa.

o Foster son of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Sharrah

o 1967 graduate of Waynesboro Senior High School

o Served in the U.S. Army from 1967-70

o Member of Pa. House of Representatives, 1978-88

o Elected to Pa. Senate, 1988; re-elected for three consecutive terms

o Retired Nov. 30, 2008

-- Sources: The 2003 Pennsylvania Manual; The Herald-Mail archives

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