HARRISBURG — Former Pennsylvania Gov. George M. Leader, who rose from his parents’ chicken farm to become governor in 1955, has died. He was 95.
Hoover Funeral Homes and Crematory said Leader died today.
The Democrat led a staff bent on ridding government of patronage jobs and improving social services. His administration overhauled the state’s mental health system and made special education a requirement in Pennsylvania schools.
He was the first governor to appoint a black cabinet officer. Leader worked in later life as a private citizen on prison reform.
Just 37 when he took office in 1955, he is still the second-youngest person to serve as governor. Before that, he was in the state Senate from 1951-1954.