Archive for Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Former mayor remembered as volunteer

June 6, 2007

Arlene Pritchard isn't expecting any statues or plaques to be put in place in Linwood to honor her husband, Robert Pritchard, a former mayor and longtime resident of the southern Leavenworth County community who died Saturday.

"He wouldn't want that," Arlene Pritchard said. That's the type of person he was."

Arlene Pritchard said her husband was an avid volunteer in the community. Whether it be helping in the kitchen at a Linwood fundraiser or making sure preparations were a go for festivals, he was the go-to guy.

At the same time he liked to be that "behind-the-scenes" person who helped make a community project come to fruition.

"He did all kinds of volunteer work," Arlene Pritchard said. "You name it and he'd be there."

Arlene Pritchard recalled Linwood's centennial in 1967 when she was president of the event's committee. She remembered her husband taking off time from work to help out with the event.

"Then he wore his overalls and cleaned the streets after the parade," Arlene said.

In fact, Robert Pritchard, or Bob as Arlene Pritchard often called him, served on the City Council from 1969-71.

Toward the end of Bob Pritchard's term, then-Mayor Paul Jones died. Bob Pritchard assumed Jones' duties, but decided not to seek the office when election time rolled around. He worked afternoon shifts at General Motors and had to take time off to attend meetings.

"He thought it was time to cease that," Arlene Pritchard said, "and let somebody else do it."

Eventually, that somebody else was Arlene Pritchard. She worked several years at a hardware store in Linwood and heard the town news -- and concerns -- from customers who stopped in at the hardware store after getting their mail at the nearby post office.

Hearing from residents, as well as her interest in the City Council when her husband ran, prompted Arlene to run as well. She served as mayor from 1986 to 1997.

"Whatever I wanted to do, my time, he was supportive," she said.

The past two years, Bob Pritchard has battled respiratory problems and used an oxygen tank.

Bob Pritchard died Saturday at the age of 85, and the family held private services Sunday.

"A beautiful day," Arlene Pritchard said. "I couldn't ask for a better day for a funeral."

Bob Pritchard's obituary appears on page 2A.

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