Governor George M. Leader
(Harrisburg) -- Former Pennsylvania Gov. George M. Leader, who rose from his parents' chicken farm to become governor in 1955, has died. He was 95.
Hoover Funeral Homes and Crematory said Leader died Thursday.
The York County Democrat led a staff bent on ridding government of patronage jobs and improving social services.
His administration overhauled the state's mental health system and made special education arequirement in Pennsylvania schools.
He was the first governor to appoint a black cabinet officer.
Leader worked in later life as a private citizen on prison reform.
He and his family also went on to establish the Country Meadows retirement communities, with facilities across the midstate.
The late governor's son, Michael Leader, spoke with witf last year about his father's influence and his active lifestyle.
"Dad has been a great role model, hard work, visionary in the field of senior living," Michael Leader said. "And my dad is a great role model not only for me, but for a lot of seniors, because even at 94, he goes to the office every day, drives himself to the office, and loves what he's doing."
Just 37 when he took office in 1955, he is still the second-youngest person to serve as governor.
Before that, he was in the state Senate from 1951-1954.
This story has been updated.
The video below features an interview with Former Pennsylvania Gov. George Leader produced by witf several years ago.
In the interview below, Leader talks about partisanship and the deal making process when he was in office.
In the interview below, Leader talks about abuse of the two party system.
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