Former hospital chairman passes away

The chairman of Altoona Hospital Board of Trustees when the landmark 13-story tower was constructed in 1978 has died in Florida.

G. Digby Lafferty, 84, was instrumental in the construction of the tower and other improvements to the physical plant at what is now UPMC Altoona, according to Hollidaysburg attorney James Routch, who served with him on the board of trustees.

Routch now serves as the hospital’s solicitor.

The improvements to the physical plant represented an important step in the hospital’s development as a regional medical center, Routch explained.

The new facility provided the space and other amenities that led to the development of one of the best cardiology departments in this part of the state and aided the hospital in attracting well-regarded physicians, Routch said.

Lafferty’s son, Andrew, who lives in Hollidaysburg, said his father helped recruit physicians for the hospital.

While Digby Lafferty was a strong supporter of the hospital’s development, he also served as the president of Lafferty Trucking Co. from 1965-87.

He took over the leadership from Andrew’s grandfather and a great uncle, who operated the company in the 1940s and 1950s.

Andrew explained that the trucking company was under contract to deliver goods for the former A&P supermarket chain.

When the Altoona Division of the A&P chain closed in 1983, the trucking company did not recover, he said.

He described his father as a “perfect gentleman at all times, very intelligent. All who knew him would say the same thing.”

Digby Lafferty served in

Army intelligence during the Korean War.

Andrew said his father was fluent in Russian and served with Army Intelligence in Washington, D.C., but would not discuss his service.

Lafferty was known as an avid golfer at the Blairmont Country Club in Hollidaysburg.

He is survived by five children and 12 grandchildren between the ages of 17 and 30.

There will be no visitation, and a private memorial service will be held for the family in Florida.

Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.