MIFFLINTOWN - A seat remained empty Tuesday as the Juniata County Board of Commissioners gathered for its weekly meeting hours before receiving word that Commissioner Robert "Bob" Reynolds passed away.
Reynolds, 69, of Mifflintown, died Tuesday morning at Geisinger-Lewistown Hospital, after battling cancer since January.
Commissioner Jeffrey Zimmerman said he was talking to Reynolds in January at their office when Reynolds stopped responding to the conversation. Reynolds was taken to the hospital, where it was determined he had a seizure and received his diagnosis.
Zimmerman said he was released from the hospital and was undergoing chemotherapy.
During last week's board meeting, Reynolds seemed out of sorts.
"He looked tired ... worn out," Zimmerman said.
After the commissioners and salary board meetings, his wife, Roxie, picked him up from work. Reynolds returned to the hospital Thursday morning, where he stayed until his death.
"I lost not only a fellow commissioner, but a dear friend," Zimmerman said Tuesday afternoon over the phone.
He said Reynolds was a veteran who served his country and was proud of his service.
"Even though he traveled far and wide, Juniata County was always his home," Zimmerman said.
"We're very shocked and overwhelmed and saddened by his loss," added Commissioner Teresa O'Neal.
News of Reynolds' passing also brought words of sympathy from the Mifflin County Board of Commissioners in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon by Commissioner Kevin Kodish.
"Juniata County has lost a dedicated public servant, and Bob's commissioner colleagues from Mifflin County were saddened to learn of his death. Commissioners Sunderland and Riden join me in sending our prayers and deepest sympathies to Bob's family and friends," Kodish wrote. "I had the good fortune to spend a lot of time in meetings with Bob, and he was very committed to his position and to the people of Juniata County. He will be missed."
Back in Juniata County, the commissioners and Chief Clerk Jim Bahorik said it is too soon to provide information about how or whether Reynolds' seat on the board will be filled before the next election.
"Our concern right now is with his family and our family here in county government," Bahorik said. "We're going to keep it one step at a time."
Reynolds was elected in 2011 and served as county commissioner from Jan. 1, 2012, to present. He lived in Mifflintown with his wife, Roxie. He had two children and four grandchildren.