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Blair business leader was ‘always out there working’

Friends, family remember Gingrich as a gentleman and ‘real good guy’

Blair County recently lost one of its longtime business leaders.

Warren A. Gingrich, 96, Hollidaysburg, died May 23 at his home.

Gingrich founded his family business, the Warren A. Gingrich Agency, in 1954.

Longtime friend Larry Field, former Blair County sheriff, called Gingrich a self-made businessman.

“I met him when I got my bond to become a constable over 50 years ago,” Field said. “He was a super person. He helped answer a lot of questions for me. I stuck with him and his firm all of these years. He worked very hard. He was a super nice guy. I remember him saying one time when he started out, he knew it would take a lot of time and a lot of hard work. He was always out there working, and he did very well. I always had a lot of respect for him.”

Bob Pennington, broker/owner of Coldwell Banker Town & Country Real Estate, has dealt with Gingrich since he opened his real estate business 47 years ago.

“He was a real gentleman,” Pennington said. “He was a good friend, a real good guy. He was active on different boards and played a big role. He was generous and contributed to many things in the community. He was a pretty jovial guy and had a good attitude.”

Retired banking executive Dean McKnight, who met Gingrich in 1965, remembers going to business meetings with him.

“Riding with him in the car made the trip,”

McKnight said. “I wanted it to last forever. He was a special man. He was just everybody’s friend, a gentleman. He was courteous. He was a good businessman. He tried to help people, not only just his customers and friends. Warren always seemed to be looking at things through unjaundiced eyes. He didn’t see poor or rich, a good idea or a bad idea. He was the kind of leader who just leads.”

Fred Imler Sr., a partner in Imler’s Poultry, said Gingrich was a big supporter of the Jaffa Shrine.

“When we went to Shriners conventions, I would write a report, and he would always tell me how much he enjoyed the reports,” Imler said. “He had a very successful business. On many occasions people would have questions, looking for information, and it was always great to go and talk to Warren. He was very helpful and very supportive of the community.

“He was a great guy and always had a smile on his face.”

Warren’s son, Mark, now company president, said his father remained on the job three days a week until March.

“Every day that he came in, he was always fair and honest and did the best for you,” Mark Gingrich said. “He made everyone feel they were very important and took an interest in what they did and what they were about. He was my dad; he was everything.”

His father had a special nickname.

“I called him the wise old owl,” his son said. “When I had a question, I would say, ‘Dad, what do you think?’ I was going to buy a home in Scotch Valley, and he said, ‘I see you doing a lot of maintenance; you don’t want to do that.’ I didn’t buy it.”

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-747.

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