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Bob Gale’s efforts helped Wintersville

It is the rare politician who is able to step away from his position and receive nothing but praise from his colleagues and constituents.

Count Bob Gale as being a member of that short list.

Gale, who served for more than 15 years as a councilman and mayor of Wintersville, announced during Village Council’s April 1 meeting that he planned to step down from the post on April 30.

That will bring an end to a long career that saw many accomplishments in the village, from improvements to the water and sewer system to seeing new businesses choosing to locate there.

A native of Wintersville and 1981 graduate of the former Wintersville High School, Gale first became involved in village politics when he returned home after living and working in Pittsburgh for 16 years. Village Council, at the time, was facing major funding problems, and after Gale discussed possible changes with its members, decided he could best bring about change by being elected to a seat on the panel. He was elected as mayor two years later.

While Gale and the village experienced many good times through his tenure, there were sad times along the way, for the village and him personally. It was how the community reacted in those situations, Gale has explained, that reveal true character.

Those included fires at the Meridian Greene Apartment Complex that affected senior citizens, a fire that destroyed Colonial Baptist Church and a blaze that claimed the life of longtime martial arts instructor Clarence West.

Gale experienced a personal loss, when his wife, Janine, died in 2017 after a 10-year illness, a period during which he missed just one council meeting. He credits the support of their son, Barry, with helping him through a tough spot in their lives.

Village residents in November will have the chance to choose the person who will fill the remaining two years of Gale’s term. From May 1 until then, Council President Robbie Martin will serve as acting mayor.

What will not end on April 30 will be Gale’s commitment to serving area residents.

Several months ago, he was named as the director of the Jefferson County Board of Elections, succeeding longtime Director Diane Gribble. Gale said his new position would have made it difficult for him to have continued as mayor.

“It was always important for me to make things better than they were before me,” Gale explained while remembering his years of service. “I believe I have done just that.”

He has — and his hard work and dedication have made Wintersville a better community. We join village residents in commending Gale for his work, and wish him continued success in his new position.

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