W.A. Reese, longtime Silverdale mayor

W. Albert Reese
W. Albert Reese
Posted: August 25, 2010

W. Albert Reese was not only mayor of Silverdale borough in northern Bucks County from 1962 to 2000, when he retired from public service.

Mr. Reese mowed the borough park. He painted the borough signs. He cleaned the sewer drains.

And to raise his family in his early years, he repaired cars and resold them at Reese's Garage on Main Street.

On Tuesday, Aug. 17, Mr. Reese, 86, died of renal disease at the Lutheran Community at Telford, the retirement home where he had lived since 2003.

In 1996, the Pennsylvania State Mayors' Association named him its Mayor of the Year.

In 2000, the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs gave him its President's Award.

Born in tiny Silverdale - whose current estimated population is 1,030 - Mr. Reese attended the former Sellersville-Perkasie High School but was rejected for military duty in World War II for medical reasons.

After his father died, Mr. Reese took over the garage in 1945, retired in 1986 and turned it over to his son, who sold it in 1995.

"It was always a repair shop," his daughter Sandra Shuler said, but for a time after her father stopped selling used cars it was a Studebaker dealership and then a Fiat dealership.

Today, Reese's Garage is still a repair shop, next to the house in which Mr. Reese was born.

While running his business on the borough's Main Street, Mr. Reese kept his hand - both hands and both feet, apparently - in running the borough.

Mr. Reese's daughter said that he took the part-time job of borough auditor in 1950 and was a borough council member from 1955 to 1962, when he was appointed to succeed the mayor, who had moved out of town.

In 1964, he was elected to the first of nine four-year terms as mayor.

And while mayor, his daughter said, Mr. Reese was for a time the acting borough manager and head of the public works department.

But his most lasting impact might have been as a member of the Silverdale Recreation Association.

"He organized a group of residents and they raised money to buy the land," for the borough's first park, his daughter said.

The property was bought in 1965 and the mortgage was paid off only two years later.

"The park was installed with a pavilion," where, she said, summer concerts have taken place for years.

In 1996, the borough named its municipal greensward the W. Albert Reese Park.

Mr. Reese helped keep alive another small-town tradition, the Silverdale Children's Christmas Party.

"It was always held on Christmas morning at the fire hall," his daughter said. Neighbors would "sing carols together and at the end of the program each person received a box of candy and an orange."

It had begun in 1925, saw folks through the worst of the Depression when a Christmas orange was a blessing for some children but, with fewer and fewer folks showing up, the Christmas gathering ended in 2000.

Mr. Reese's reach extended beyond Silverdale.

He helped run the annual Pennridge Community Day at Lenape Park in Perkasie and was a member of the Pennridge School Authority.

In 1990, the Pennridge Chamber of Commerce gave him its Distinguished Service Award.

In the 1960s, he was president of the Pennridge Republican Club and, from the late 1960s into the early 1980s, he was on the board of directors of the former Pennview Savings & Loan Association, whose Silverdale branch office was across the street from his garage.

Mr. Reese was president of the Silverdale Fire Company and, for 68 years, was one of its firemen. He was president of the Perkasie Lions Club and a board member of the Bucks County Police Association.

Besides his daughter, Mr. Reese is survived by his wife of 68 years, Marietta; son William S.; a brother; a sister; four grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

A memorial service took place on Monday, Aug. 23.

Contact staff writer Walter F. Naedele at 215-854-5607 or wnaedele@phillynews.com.

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