Public service

Former Center County Commissioner Jon Eich commemorated for his dedication to public service

Jon Eich’s four years as Center County Commissioner only scratches the surface of a life dedicated to public service.

From his decades as a county planner and administrator to his volunteer work with county, state college, and regional authorities, boards, and commissions, Eich, as present Commissioner Mark Higgins said so“spent most of his adult life working to help make Center County a better place.”

Eich died aged 67 on July 20 after an 18-month battle with multiple health issues, according to a obituary released on Saturday.

The news of his passing was met with sadness and praise for his dedication to the community by elected officials and community members.

“It was an honor to know and serve with the incomparable Jon Eich,” said Rep. Scott Conklin, also a former commissioner, wrote on Twitter. “Thank you for your many years of friendship and dedicated public service to Center County.”

Born in New York, Eich graduated from Susquehanna University in 1976. Three years later, he accepted a position as a senior planner with the Center County government, and in 1996 he was appointed deputy director of planning. . Along the way, he earned a master’s degree in geography from Penn State while researching studies and advocating for issues such as water supply systems, land preservation, road improvements, and economic development.

He married his wife of 36 years, Kathleen, in 1986.

Eich became the County Administrator, Center County’s highest appointed official, in 1999 and served in that role until 2003. He won election as County Commissioner in 2007 and during his tenure as From 2008 to 2012, he served as Chairman of the Board.

As an administrator and commissioner, he worked to increase subsidized housing, preserve farmland, protect watersheds, implement paper-based verified voting systems, and improve infrastructure and emergency communications.

“Jon Eich was the epitome of a civil servant. Jon has dedicated his life to constantly discovering, researching and implementing initiatives and programs to improve the lives of Center County residents,” said Michael Pipe, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners. writes on facebook. “From elections to economic development, from transportation to public safety, Jon has had a positive impact on countless areas of community and county service.

“I was happy to call Jon a colleague and a friend.”

However, Eich’s professional roles in government were only part of his public service. His volunteer work included positions with the Center County Planning Commission, the State College Transportation Commission, and most recently the Center Regional and State College Planning Commissions, where he regularly offered insightful commentary. and ask probing questions.

“I had the honor of working with Jon Eich during my tenure on the Central Regional Planning Commission,” said Ferguson Township Supervisor Jeremie Thompson. wrote. “A big thank you to Jon for his service, knowledge and insight into the Central region. We will miss him.”

He was generous with his expertise and advice.

“Even though my time with Jon was brief, he was such a passionate and intelligent leader whose insights will continue to inspire us for years to come,” State College Planning Commission member and Penn State student Josh Portney, wrote. “I had the honor of serving with him on the SC Planning Commission and he was an advisor, confidant and friend.”

“Jon Eich was quite a civil servant,” said Robert Zeigler, a member of Millheim Borough Council and the Democratic candidate for State House’s 171st District. wrote. “He was also supportive of my work and gave me great advice on how to run for a higher position and talked about various infrastructure related topics.

Zeigler wrote that Eich told him, “’Your goal doesn’t have to be just to win or increase votes. You can push your opponent on two or three key issues and make him do good for the state. A campaign doesn’t always have to be about the candidate, it can be about the cause the candidate is championing.

Eich was also a member of a number of non-profit organizations, including ClearWater Conservancy, Penns Valley Conservation Association, Center County Farmland Trust, Moshannon Valley Economic Development Partnership, Center County Affordable Housing Coalition, and Snow Shoe Rails to Trails, among others.

“Jon was an invaluable member of the public servants who make our community great,” said the State College Community Land Trust. wrote.

Eich is survived by his wife, Kathleen, and extended family.

Those wishing to commemorate his life are encouraged to donate to first responders, libraries, food banks or any other service organization, according to his obituary. They can also consider some of his favorite nonprofits: Medical center volunteers, The Atlantic Wildlife Institute and State College Community Land Trust.