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North Irwin councilman dies after collapsing at borough garage

| Thursday, May 9, 2013, 1:24 p.m.
North Irwin councilman Bernard Reynolds.

Longtime North Irwin Councilman Bernard Reynolds died Thursday after collapsing at the borough's street department garage, said Dan Wensel, officer in charge at the Irwin Police Department.

Reynolds, 80, was serving his fifth term on council, and was a member of its street department committee.

“Growing up in this town, Bernie was always a fixture,” said council president Kim Macalus said. “He was always around and doing things for North Irwin, and his passing is a huge loss for this borough.”

Reynolds previously worked in the borough's streets department and as its police officer or chief for nearly 50 years.

Macalus described Reynolds as someone who was passionate about the community. He dedicated his free time to taking care of his family and the borough, she said.

“I think he missed a lot of vacations and holidays just to take care of snow removal and other things around the borough,” Macalus said.

Former councilman Brian Crawford said he has known Reynolds most of his life, and remembers him always being available to help others.

Crawford said he has vivid memories of Reynolds.

“You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who cares more, or has done more for their community,” Crawford said. “He's just a good person, and a great example for anybody interested in going above and beyond to help the public.”

Mayor James Douglas said Reynold's death surprised him. Over the last several months, Reynolds had a very upbeat disposition, and seemed to be in good health, Douglas said.

He attributed Reynolds' outlook to his involvement in the street department committee.

“Bernie just had so much pride in this town, and always wanted it to shine, and be at its best,” Douglas said. “Just being able to oversee our road crew as a member of the committee, and being able to stop in daily, made him happy.”

Douglas said the borough lost an immeasurable amount of experience and history when Reynolds died.

“I know of nobody else in our borough, or any other town, for that matter, who has ever dedicated their life to their community like Bernie did,” Douglas said. “He slept in his house, but really, this entire town was Bernie's home.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

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