Friends and Colleagues Remember Former Wilkes-Barre Mayor

WILKES-BARRE — Funeral arrangements are being made for a former mayor of Wilkes-Barre.

Mayor Lee Namey served as mayor from 1988 to 1996. He died Monday, the same day he turned 69.

A long line of past mayors decorates the walls inside Wilkes-Barre City Hall. Among the photos is the late Mayor Lee Namey.

“He went down in history probably as one of our better mayors. Other than that, he was as good guy,” said John Owens of Wilkes-Barre.

Namey graduated from Wilkes College in 1968. He then earned his Master’s degree from Marywood University and went on to teach art at the West Side Career and Technology Center in Pringle.

Dave Kaschak teaches social studies there and played football with Namey at Wilkes.

“Lee always enjoyed working with people, whether it be the kids here at the career center or working with the people of Wilkes-Barre,” said friend and former colleague Dave Kaschak.

Namey taught art for 16 years. The Democrat was elected to Wilkes-Barre City Council four times before being sworn in as mayor in 1988. He served two terms.

Current Mayor Tom Leighton served as a councilman under Namey.

“You have to make the final decision, knowing firsthand that not everybody’s going to be happy. And that’s how Mayor Namey operated the city of Wilkes-Barre, and quite honestly that’s why he was very successful,” said Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton.

As mayor, Namey consolidated the Department of Public Works into one location on Conyngham Avenue. He worked to revitalize downtown and left office with a budget surplus.

After serving as mayor, Namey went back over the river to teach again at CTC. In 2006, he became principal and retired a few years later.

“He was just a pretty good guy and always worked for the betterment of either the school or the city,” said Kaschak.

“We discussed a lot of things over the past 10 years since I became the mayor, and those things are things I’ll cherish the rest of my life,” said Leighton.

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