Editor: We lost a noble son of the region on Sunday evening — the iconic Bill Scranton — who was our governor, our congressman, our ambassador to the United Nations — and our true friend. Throughout his career in leadership positions at the state, national and international levels, Bill never lost his attachment and loyalty to Scranton and Northeast Pennsylvania. He was learned and kind, intellectually curious and ethically pristine. You could count on Bill to do the right thing — whatever the circumstances were.
On the personal level, his family came first — his dear wife Mary and his precious children and grandchildren were of utmost importance to him. His decision-making always began with what was good for them. Until his death he could recite at any given moment just who they were, where they were and what they were doing there.
How amazing it was that he invited about 300 or 400 Scrantonians to his swearing in as ambassador to the U.N. No room in the Oval Office for Washington politicians and pundits — just the home town crowd.
When he retired from public life, he decided it was a good time to study the art of the Italian Renaissance; so he went about it diligently with University of Scranton art historian Josephine Dunn.
When Mary became ill and he believed that her care in Santa Barbara (formerly their winter home) was excellent, he made the decision to stay there year round.
When the politics of his beloved Republican Party took a turn to the right, he weighed his voting choices not by loyalty to his party but to his beliefs and values.
When he was in a weakened state and just about blind in June, he managed to find the time to have lunch with us at our home. It was to be our last visit. No drama, no farewells — just the usual roster of conversation about family, friend, politics and history. But I think that he and we knew it was the last visit.
Bill will be remembered for many things — his intelligence, his affability, his integrity, his diplomacy, his curiosity, his commitment to family and friends, his fair-mindedness, his good looks — but above all — for his humility. This modest man with a noble career is gone now. But I can only hope that he will remain a role model for all of us as we go forth and bring promise and progress to our region and to the world —in his honor.
Publication Date: July 31, 2013