Former GOP mayor of Lancaster, PA, Charlie Smithgall, dead at age 77

The city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania is in mourning after it was announced that a beloved former mayor had passed away.

Former Mayor Charlie Smithgall, a Republican who served from 1998 to 2006, was 77 when he died early Tuesday morning, local CBS affiliate WHP reported.

“The best dad, husband, poppop & friend”

Smithgall’s death was announced in a Facebook post by his daughter, Allison, who wrote, “It is with the utmost sadness that I wish to share that my dad passed away about an hour ago. I was lucky enough to be able to be with him holding his hand until the end.”

“Charlie Smithgall was the best dad, husband, poppop & friend anyone in the world could have asked for. He loved his family, he loved his farm and loved his cannons,” she continued. “He loved being the mayor of Lancaster. He was an encyclopedia of knowledge and humor. If you knew him you were a lucky person because he always cared about others more than he did himself.”

“I’m so sad right now I can’t even think. It’s been a long 6 weeks. He taught me so many great things and even some crazy bad ideas. There are so many memories I have that will be cherished forever. My mom, Chris, Carter, Jon and I and his close friends are so blessed to have the support of so many,” Smithgall added of her father.

Died of unspecified heart problems

Lancaster Online reported that Charlie Smithgall was a local businessman and pharmacist who served two terms as the city’s mayor and was best known for cracking down on crime and revitalizing the local economy.

According to his wife, Debbie, Smithgall died around 3:30 am Tuesday at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health. He had been hospitalized since Sept. 2 with heart problems, though the issue had suddenly become more severe in recent days.

“He loved being mayor. I don’t think there was ever a day that he said, ‘Oh, I have to go to city hall.’ He had the heart of the city in his heart. He loved the people. He loved what was going on downtown,” Smithgall said of her late husband.

Current mayor offers condolences and sympathies

Current Lancaster Mayor Danene Sorace (D) issued a statement to mark the death of one of her predecessors that was posted on the city’s official Facebook page, and wrote, “With respect and sadness, the City of Lancaster recognizes the passing of former Mayor Charlie Smithgall. Mayor Smithgall served as Mayor of Lancaster from 1998 to 2006. A public servant, business owner, pharmacist, and advocate for Lancaster, Mayor Smithgall’s devotion to this city was well-known and admired.”

Sorace went on to note her “profound respect for those answering the call of public service and leading in Lancaster’s City Hall,” praised Smithgall for his work to “spur economic development, enrich the downtown, and build out the City’s infrastructure,” and offered her “warmest sympathies” to his grieving family.