When Roger H. Knefelkamp became Pleasant Hills borough secretary in 1960, there was no voice mail or email or any other electronic service to take messages from borough residents.
"He would just take the calls directly and if there was a complaint, he would address it. There was no putting it off on someone else. He handled it himself," said Mr. Knefelkamp's daughter, Carol Banahasky of Finleyville.
Mr. Knefelkamp served as Pleasant Hills secretary for 32 years before retiring in 1992. Following his retirement, he continued working a part-time position as secretary and business manager for the Pleasant Hills Authority until about 10 years ago, his family said.
Mr. Knefelkamp, 86, died June 20 at Jefferson Hospital of renal failure connected to prostate cancer that he battled for 18 years.
A 1944 graduate of Brentwood High School who went on to earn a degree from Duff's Business Institute, Mr. Knefelkamp got his first job in public service when he answered an ad for the position of assistant borough secretary in Pleasant Hills. He got the job, and when his boss retired, Mr. Knefelkamp was promoted to secretary, a position he took very seriously, family members said.
"He was very, very dedicated," said his wife, Jane Knefelkamp, to whom he was married for 58 years. "He took a lot of pride in making the community look nice. If something wasn't cut or something wasn't done, he made sure it was taken care of. He hardly ever took the vacation time he had or took a sick day."
Mrs. Knefelkamp and her daughter said they remember him sitting at the family's kitchen table after borough council meetings with a tape recording of the meeting. "He would sit and listen to the meeting and write the minutes out longhand," his wife said. "Sometimes he would have 20-some pages of minutes."
He also took calls at home when residents couldn't reach the borough office about such things as garbage collections and street paving projects.
Mr. Knefelkamp was able to remain in his job for more than three decades despite the turnover in council members over the years. His family said his dedication to the job and his calm, low-key personality likely made that possible.
"My dad tried to get along with everyone," Mrs. Banahasky said. "He was not one to cause a problem. He was a problem-solver."
Mr. Knefelkamp's dedication wasn't limited to his borough service. He was also a longtime active member of Zion Lutheran Church in Brentwood, where he was among a group of men who cooked an annual Easter breakfast for congregation members. He also served as an usher, deacon and secretary.
Mr. Knefelkamp was a World War II Army veteran who was stationed in Rome.
In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Knefelkamp is survived by his son, Mark Knefelkamp of Bethel Park, and three grandchildren.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at John F. Slater Funeral Home, 4201 Brownsville Road, Brentwood. Memorial contributions can be made to Zion Lutheran Church, 4301 Brownsville Road, Pittsburgh 15236.
Mary Niederberger: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1590.