One of Indiana County’s most respected public servants, former Rep. Bill Shane, died Thursday during an automobile accident on the Pa. Turnpike.
His wife Esther, also in the vehicle, has been discharged from the hospital.
Shane, 77, served in the state House from 1971 to 1977. He then served on the Public Utility Commission from 1984 to 1990, was its chairman from 1987 to ’90, and returned to fill an unexpired term from 2005 to 2006. He also served as an Indiana County Commissioner and on Indiana Borough Council.
The Indiana Gazette talked to the people who knew Shane and worked with him. The full story is here; these are a few reflections.
“I lost a dear friend and the county lost one of its truest public servants,” Sen. Don White, R-Indiana, said Friday of Shane’s death.
“He had his rough edges. He was not always politically correct. But he was passionate,” White said. “He was bigger than life. I loved listening to him.”
And although White and Shane were members of opposite political parties, “We always found a way to continue to promote the area he loved,” White said. “We lost another all-star in the county. … He was such a presence,” and a close friend White said he could count on for good advice and guidance.
“I don’t know if you could find more intelligence in a politician than Bill Shane,” Indiana County commissioner Rodney Ruddock said.
Despite their different political party affiliations, Ruddock said he and Shane, too, spent a great deal of time together working on Indiana County issues.
“I always enjoyed his views of the way he thought things should be,” Ruddock said. “Bill was a dedicated servant,” not only to his community and state, but also to his family and church.
“Bill Shane was a statesman,” willing to help not only Democratic candidates with their campaigns but also people in their personal lives through his community service, said Ron Fairman, chairman of the Indiana County Democratic Party. “A love of his life was to help others. That’s what he was all about — helping others.”