MARS — Mayor Dick Settlemire, known as smiling “Mayor Dick” for a decade, died Saturday morning at his home. He was 56.
Settlemire first took office in 2002 and began his third term in 2010 after running unopposed on the Republican ticket in 2009.
Those in the one-square-mile borough that Settlemire served knew he had been ill for some time, but were saddened to learn such a proponent of their community is gone.
Anthony Fallone, a barber at Calcara’s Barber Styling Shop on Grand Avenue, cut Settlemire’s hair for several years. He heard of his friend’s passing early Monday morning.
Fallone said he visited Settlemire at his home about two weeks ago, and although the mayor was in failing health, his mood was upbeat as usual.
“We had a nice chat and I cut his hair,” Fallone said. “He appeared to be in a good mood. We talked about casual things.”
He said the shop will be different now that Settlemire has died.
“I will miss him because it was fun when he came into the shop,” Fallone said. “He was always upbeat, even when he was sick.”
Fallone said as mayor Settlemire dedicated his heart to the tiny borough with the otherworldly name.
“He loved Mars,” Fallone said. “Mars was his pride and joy. He worked hard for the town.”
Ed Pfeifer, owner of Pfeifer Hardware on Marshall Way, said Settlemire didn’t run for mayor to satisfy his ego.
“He really wanted to serve,” Pfeifer said. “He was always willing to listen to the opinions and comments of not just the business owners, but anyone in the borough.”
Pfeifer said Settlemire was never too busy to stop and hear the suggestions of residents.
“He wanted to know what was going on and to make changes that reflected the views of the residents,” he said.
Council President Micke Fleming served on council alongside Settlemire for several years. He agreed that Settlemire was completely dedicated to his borough.
“He served the people well in Mars,” Fleming said. “He certainly always had their best interests at heart.”
Fleming said Settlemire did so many little things for Mars every day that he had difficulty in pinpointing just a few. He said Settlemire made it his mission to get the bell from the decommissioned naval ship the USS Mars. He successfully had the bell placed in the town square in the fall of 2008.
Fleming said Settlemire also was instrumental in coordinating the borough’s Fourth of July celebration.
“It was a big push for him,” Fleming said. “He enjoyed the celebration that went with the Fourth of July.”
Fleming said Mars will not be the same without its familiar smiling mayor.
“I’m going to miss him,” Fleming said. “I’m sure we’ll certainly keep him in our thoughts and do whatever we can to continue the projects he was involved in, and we will hold him in the highest regard.”
Fallone summed up the thoughts of all who knew Settlemire: “He was a good guy.”
Settlemire is survived by his wife and two sons, among others. The McDonald-Aeberli Funeral Home of Mars is handling funeral arrangements.
His obituary is on Page 16.