Obituary: Leonard Santimyer | Longtime North Irwin public servant, Irwin restaurateur
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Leonard Santimyer, who served North Irwin as a council member and mayor for half a century, was just as recognizable down the hill in Irwin.
"He was on Main Street more than I was," Irwin Mayor Dan Rose said. "He'd spend his whole day down there."
Mr. Santimyer, founder of Main Street's landmark Colonial Grille, died Friday. He was 78.
Mr. Santimyer, who was often called "Lenny," was born July 13, 1933, in Larimer, a village in North Huntingdon. After serving in the Army as a young man, he got married and moved to North Irwin.
Mr. Rose said Mr. Santimyer worked with him as a life insurance agent at Prudential for three years before going into the food business, working at Isaly's on Main Street before buying the Colonial Grille in 1963. His son, Gary, took over in 1996, but the elder Mr. Santimyer still had a presence at the restaurant, cleaning tables and helping out.
"We appreciated him in Irwin," Mr. Rose said. "He was involved in all the things in Irwin."
Mr. Santimyer served North Irwin for 50 years, first as a council member from 1960 until 1993. Following the death of Don Hensler, Mr. Santimyer was appointed mayor. He then won four elections and served as mayor until the end of 2009, when he decided to give up the seat and focus on spending time with his family.
"All I want now is lots of time to enjoy the rest of my life with my wife, Linda, and our family. I think I've earned that," he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2009.
"I call myself a real hometown guy," Mr. Santimyer said in the Post-Gazette story. "After I left Larimer, except that time in the service, I stuck around the Norwin area all my life.
"I love North Irwin. I love Irwin. I just love the people. That's why I hung around."
"The whole town is going to miss him," Mr. Rose said.
Mr. Santimyer was preceded in death by his first wife of 42 years, June Santimyer, and his second wife, Martha Santimyer.
In addition to his wife, Linda, and his son, Gary, Mr. Santimyer is survived by two other sons, Leonard and Tim; daughter Kristy Santimyer-Melita; sisters Mary Louise Casorio, Judith R. Hall and Dolores Jean Diak; stepchildren John K. Murray and Erin Karazsia; 13 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
Viewings will be held from 2 to 4 and 6 to 9 p.m. today at William Snyder Funeral Home, 521 Main St., Irwin. Services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the funeral home.
Memorial donations can be made to the Irwin Business and Professional Association, 321 Main St., Irwin, PA 15642, or Norwin Area Meals on Wheels, P.O. Box 80, Irwin, PA 15642.
First Published May 22, 2012 12:00 am