Mayor strove to keep town 'like Mayberry'
Richard D. Settlemire first ran for mayor of Mars in 2001 because he didn't want the Butler County town to change too much, his wife said on Tuesday.
“He said he wanted to keep Mars as a little town like Mayberry,” Kathy Settlemire said. “He loved the little hometown look and feel of it.”
Mars Mayor Richard D. Settlemire died on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, at home of liver disease. He was 56.
Mr. Settlemire was born Sept. 11, 1956, to R. Elaine Henry Settlemire and the late G. Dale Settlemire, who was a past member of the borough council.
Mr. Settlemire was sworn in to his first four-year term in 2002 and won re-election two times.
One of the first things he did after taking office was to bring back the annual Fourth of July fireworks display for the one square-mile town of about 1,700 residents, asking local businesses for donations to help pay for the celebration.
“He said he just wanted to bring that back,” said his wife of nearly 34 years. That tradition ended a couple of years ago, she added, because fireworks became too expensive.
“He loved Mars. He loved the trains that went through, he loved that everyone says ‘hi' to each other. He loved all that kind of stuff,” Kathy Settlemire said.
Scott Settlemire said when he last talked to his brother a couple of weeks ago, “I told him, ‘I am so proud of you for everything you've done for the town.' ”
Scott Settlemire of Gross Pointe Farm, Mich., said his brother replied, “I really did try. I may not always have gotten the things done that we wanted to get done, but I really, really tried.”
Richard Settlemire was known as “the paint man,” his wife said, working for nearly 15 years at Westmoreland Supply in Hampton, including managing the store, before leaving about 2 1⁄2 years ago. He also worked at another paint store in Cranberry.
Kathy Settlemire said that when people asked him to match paint using a machine, he “matched it perfectly with his eyes. He'd tell customers, ‘So you want it matched to the machine or do you want it matched right?' ”
In addition to his wife and brother, Mr. Settlemire is survived by sons R. Grant Settlemire of Evans City and Eric M. Settlemire of Mars; a sister, Toni K. Taylor of Pittsburgh; and three grandchildren.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday in Crestview United Presbyterian Church in Callery. Burial will follow in Mars Cemetery.
Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or firstname.lastname@example.org.