Former Pennsylvania Governor, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, William W. Scranton, has died, at the age of 96.
Scranton ran for president in 1964 and his name lives on today in our area’s biggest city.
Mike Stevens took a look back at the former leader’s life..
Lackawanna State Park. It symbolizes what many consider Governor Scranton’s most valuable legacy. The Scranton administration created a bond issue, millions of it would go toward state parks; the goal was ambitious, and so today there is a state park roughly within 25 miles of every Pennsylvanian.
Bill Scranton loved the outdoors, walked Lackawanna almost daily.
“We’re going to have, in Pennsylvania, I think with the possible exception of Maine, the most amount of recreational land that any state in the east will have.”
He and cabinet member Maurice K. Goddard saw to it that we could all enjoy the outdoors.
Scranton was first elected to Congress in1960. In 1962, he ran for governor of Pennsylvania and won becoming the first Republican governor in eight years. Not long after, he campaigned for the presidency.
“I did run for president in 1964 when it looked as if Mr. Goldwater would be nominated as the Republican candidate and Mr. Rockefeller had been beaten in California.”
Though he never became president Scranton knew a lot of them. His dad took him on a trip to Washington and there he met Calvin Coolidge. As governor, Bill Scranton and his wife came to know President Eisenhower and his wife Mamie who lived in Gettysburg
“”Of course I knew him very well, not only because I knew him in the State Department, I had to liason with the White House from the State Department which had me in contact with him a great deal, and thereafter a saw him a number of times and he was wonderful to Mary and me when I was governor and they were living in Gettysburg, so I guess I’d seen Eisenhower numerous times.”
Governor Scranton spent a lot of years in public service in company of some famous people. Yet he and his wife Mary and their four children always favored home, Pennsylvania.
The Washington social circuit was but a temporary part of their lives. For the Scranton family, home was here as were their hearts.
Whether walking in Lackawanna State Park or stopping for coffee in nearby Waverly, he was accessible and friendly and willing to share a story. He had them by the dozens.
We can thank Bill Scranton for a lot: new jobs, mine reclamation, among them. Yet his love of the outdoors and the desire to share that with us all, we’ll likely remember him most for that.
We will, in a sense, share his company each and every time we stroll or fish or bird watch or hike a state park in Pennsylvania.