Capitol Wire: A. Richard Gerber, Democratic politician, 73, dies

By Christopher Wink | Jun 26, 2008 | Capitol Wire

I continue to cover the State Capitol for Capitol Wire, a service for which you don’t have a subscription, so I can only give you a taste. This is part of a post-graduate internship with the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents’ Association.

HARRISBURG (June 26) – Richard Gerber, active in state Democratic politics, former chairman of the Pennsylvania Securities Commission and father of a current state legislator, died Wednesday night, several sources have confirmed. He was 73, a friend said.

“He was just a dynamic personality and possessed a strength of personality and a special kind of loyalty,” said U.S. Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr., D-Pa. “He would go right through a wall for you if he needed. Whatever it would take in a campaign. A truly great Democrat.”

Gerber was a longtime friend of the Casey family and ally of Casey’s father and former Pennsylvania Gov. Robert P. Casey Sr. since at least 1966 when Casey Sr. first ran for governor, Casey Jr. said.

The youngest of Gerber’s three children is state Rep. Mike Gerber, D-Montgomery, who spent Thursday dealing with his father’s passing, friends said.

Dick Gerber, a Montgomery County lawyer was chairman of the Pennsylvania Securities Commission from 2004 to his retirement in April 2006. He joined the commission, which investigates deceptive practices in connection with offers, sales, and purchases of securities, in 1992.

Gerber was initially appointed as a member of that commission by Gov. Casey, was reappointed by former Gov. Tom Ridge, and again reappointed by Gov. Ed Rendell, according to a March 2006 report from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Gerber was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Norristown. It was there that he met his lifetime best friend Robert J. Butera at age 13.

“He was unique. He was loyal. He was brilliant,” said Butera, who was Republican House Minority Leader from 1973 to 1977.

Gerber was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Dickinson School of Law of what is now the Pennsylvania State University, Butera said.

Gerber is survived by his wife Penny, a longtime influential member of Democratic State Committee, also close to both Caseys and Rendell. He is also survived by two other children and five grandchildren.

Gerber the elder is survived by his wife Penny, a longtime influential member of Democratic State Committee, also close to both Caseys and Rendell. He is also survived by two other children, the oldest Peter and middle child, daughter Courtney. Rep. Gerber has three children and daughter Courtney has at least one, Butera said.

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