City leaders mourn the loss of Harrisburg city councilwoman - abc27 WHTM

City leaders mourn the loss of Harrisburg city councilwoman

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Photo courtesy: Harrisburg.gov Photo courtesy: Harrisburg.gov

Harrisburg councilwoman Eugenia Smith died of an apparent heart attack at the age of 53.

According to a statement on the city's website, Smith was at home when she became ill Friday afternoon. She was rushed to Harrisburg Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Several city leaders came to the hospital in a state of shock. People we talked to say they weren't aware of Smith's facing any serious health issues.

"She was always working for the kids," said fellow councilwoman Sandra Reid, who told us that she had talked with Smith earlier in the day. "She was always working for the community. You couldn't talk to Gina for more than five minutes without her mentioning --oh I got to stop and this for my daughter. I got to stop and do this for my son. I gotta stop and do this for my grand kids."

Smith was leading an effort to stop the closing of one of the city's fire stations.

"She was a woman with a big heart," said State Representative Patty Kim, who served on city council for about five years with Smith. "She cared deeply for the community--especially for the most vulnerable children in the city. She worked for the school district for homeless children but even after she left that post, she continued to advocate for kids at risk."

In the statement, Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse called Smith's death "deeply shocking."

"I share the pain and loss that people throughout our city assuredly feel as we try to absorb this sudden news," Papenfuse said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this time."


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