Former state Rep. Bob Godshall honored 6.19.19

Lansdale Borough Council President Denton Burnell, right, presents a certificate of recognition to retired State Rep. Bob Godshall for 36 years representing the 53rd Legislative District during the June 19 council meeting.

Local officials in Lansdale Borough and Hatfield Township remembered the decades of contributions by late state Rep. Bob Godshall on Monday.

Godshall represented Hatfield in Harrisburg as the 53rd House District's representative from 1982 until 2018 and has passed away at age 86.

Former Lansdale Mayor Andy Szekely, who ran unsuccessfully to succeed Godshall in 2018, recalled on Monday roughly a decade of working together on various projects in and around town.

"I got to know Bob pretty well, and he had three pages of handwritten things he had done for Lansdale: everything ranging from Lansdale Little League, giving money there, to the symphony orchestra, to the railroad tracks at Main and Broad, he got money to rehab those tracks so it was smoother going over them," Szekely said.

"After 36 years in the House, when I was out campaigning, a lot of people said 'Even though I'm a Democrat, if you behave like Bob, I'll vote for you'," he said. 

In June 2019 Lansdale's borough council and staff thanked Godshall for his years of support for the town.

"Bob's consistent championing for Lansdale, with efficiency and integrity, offered unparalleled service to Lansdale. On behalf of all residents, we congratulate Rep. Godshall on his retirement, and offer our gratitude for his long term public service," council President Denton Burnell said at that time. 

Current Lansdale Mayor Garry Herbert said Monday that Godshall’s "lifetime of service to Lansdale, and the surrounding communities, will never be forgotten."

"The level of passion and dedication he exhibited through his persistent constituent service work should stand as a model for anyone looking to be involved in public life," Herbert said.

"As a fellow elected official I deeply appreciate that level of dedication to Lansdale because without it we would not be the community we are today," he said.

In Hatfield Township, Godshall's local office sat on Cowpath Road and was handed over to the township in 2015, and officials have said they plan to convert the former office into a town history museum. Township officials there recalled on Monday a lawmaker who always had time for them.

"Yesterday, Hatfield lost a great friend and mentor. Our community mourns the loss of our longtime legislator and steadfast supporter, Representative Godshall," said Hatfield commissioners President Tom Zipfel.

Hatfield's commissioners honored Godshall with a farewell proclamation in November 2018, and at that time cited his work on the state house Consumer Affairs committee, insurance committee, and support for legislation providing tax breaks to employers who give time off to those who donate organs or bone marrow. The Hatfield board also noted Godshall's efforts to secure funds for the long-planned Route 309 Connector linking the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike with 309, more state funds for realignment of the intersection of Cowpath and Orvilla Roads, and his support for "Right to Try" legislation allowing those facing terminal illnesses to undergo experimental treatments.

"For decades, Representative Godshall advocated for the Hatfield community in Harrisburg. He secured millions of dollars of grant funding for transportation, infrastructure, and parks and recreation initiatives for Hatfield Township," Zipfel said.

Even though the lawmaker is now gone, two big township projects are about to start, both thanks to years of work by Godshall.

"The Cowpath and Orvilla realignment and the Sumneytown Connector Road will both be under construction in 2020 because of Representative Godshall's persistence and tenacity," Zipfel said.

Details about memorial services were not available by press time.

Staff writer Bob Keeler contributed to this story.

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