MATAMORAS, Pa. â€"â€" Mr. Richard Vincent Gassmann, 82, former mayor and lifetime resident of Matamoras, Pa., and Westfall Township, died Wednesday, March 26, 2014, at Bon Secours Community Hospital.
Born May 16, 1931, in Westfall Township, Pa., Richard was the son of the late Ralph Cecil Gassmann and Hazel Roberts Gassmann. Richard married Helen Zitone Gassmann 53 years ago on Oct. 8, 1960, in St. Josephâ€™s Catholic Church, Matamoras, Pa.
Richard graduated from the Matamoras School in 1949 and upon graduation entered the United States Air Force
. He was stationed in England as a radio man during the Korean War
from 1949 to1953. Upon discharge from the Air Force, Richard attended Penn State University
and East Stroudsburg State Teachers
College, earning a bachelorâ€™s degree under the GI Bill, and later earned a masterâ€™s degree at William Paterson College. He was a 30-year educator, working as an elementary school teacher and principal for the Frankford Township School District in Branchville, retiring in 1990.
After his retirement from teaching, Richard was appointed mayor of Matamoras, Pa., in 2003, serving for nine years following in the footsteps of longtime Mayor Joseph Ricciardi. Prior to becoming mayor, Richard was always very active in the Matamoras Borough. He served on the Matamoras Borough Council from 1968 to 1978 and again from 1982 to 2003. He was the chairman of the Pike County Democratic Committee for 10 years. He helped form the Matamoras Advisory Committee, which later became the Matamoras Recreation Committee. This Recreation Committee spearheaded the transformation of the Old Matamoras Airport into the Matamoras Recreation Park.
Richard was also instrumental in the creation of the Matamoras Veterans Memorial Park & Education Center at Airport Park. He was active from 2005 to 2009 with the Matamoras Revitalization Committee, securing the first grant for the sidewalks on Pennsylvania Avenue in Matamoras.
Richard helped reorganize and served as the commander of the American Legion Devore Quinn Post #486 in Matamoras, Pa. He was a 40-plus-year member of the Matamoras Volunteer Fire Department and the Port Jervis Elksâ€™ Lodge BPOE #645.
A family statement read: â€œRichard recognized the importance of commitment to oneâ€™s community and he dedicated his public life to that end. He was a genuinely warm and friendly person who loved his family and took pride in its growth and happiness.â€
Richard is survived by his loving wife, Helen Zitone Gassmann, at home; two sons, William Gassmann, of Exton, Pa, and Robert Gassmann, of Mohawk, N.Y.; a brother, Andrew Gassmann, of Castle Rock, Colo.; a sister, Sylvia Francis and her husband, Edward Francis, of Davenport, Fla.; four granddaughters, Karen, Sarah, Madeline and Carly Gassmann; a brother-in-law, Edward Zitone and his wife, Joyce; and three sisters-in-law, Evelyn Dalrymple, Joyce Helms and Lois Zitone; as well as several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his brother, William Gassmann; sister, Hazel Drexler; brother-in-law, Joseph Zitone; and sister-in-law, Lorraine Zitone.
Friends may call at the Gray-Parker Funeral Home Inc., 100 E. Main St., Port Jervis, N.Y., on Saturday, March 29, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Funeral services will be held at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the funeral home with Pastor Nancy Vonderhorst officiating. Following cremation, a private burial of cremains will be held in the Pine Grove Cemetery, Matamoras, Pa.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Veterans Memorial Park & Education Center, P.O. Box 303, Matamoras, PA 18336.
Funeral arrangements are by the Gray-Parker Funeral Home Inc. For additional information, directions or to send a condolence note to the family, visit www.grayparkerfuneralhome.com