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Final respects paid to former Pa. governor Bill Scranton - abc27 WHTM

Final respects paid to former Pa. governor Bill Scranton

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SCRANTON, Pa. (WHTM) -

On Wednesday final respects were paid to for former Pennsylvania governor Bill Scranton. He was fondly remembered at a memorial service in the city named after his family. Every living Pennsylvania governor was there.

It was called Slocum Hollow in 1840 when Governor Scranton's great-grandfather and other relatives bought the town. They got into steel and railroads, they owned the gas and water companies, and by the 1860s the town adopted the family name.

But William Warren Scranton made a name for himself: a millionaire Republican who connected with working poor Democrats. They in turn sent him to Congress in 1960.

Two years later, the state embraced him and made him governor.

He was a Kennedy Republican who pushed for civil rights. He started community colleges and PHEAA, and he increased the state sales tax from 4 to 5 percent.

Partisan labels didn't fit.

"It wasn't about being a Republican or a Democrat," said former governor Tom Ridge. "It was about being American and a public servant, getting stuff done for the people who elected you. That simple."

Scranton was an advisor to presidents, an ambassador to the UN and a counselor to future governors.

Just a year into his governorship, Scranton ran for president as a moderate alternative to conservative Barry Goldwater in the GOP primary.

He lost and never ran for office again.

"There are no Republican moderates like Bill Scranton left," said former governor Ed Rendell. "They're disappearing, and we the country are worse off because of it."

"The ability he had to work with people on both sides of the aisle and to bring an uncommon decency to public service is something we'll all miss," added Senator Bob Casey.

Scranton leaves behind four children, three grandchildren, and his wife Mary, who lives in a California nursing home.

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