Art Glatfelter was a successful businessman and founder of the Glatfelter Insurance Group.

But he was also known as a generous supporter of community organizations and endeavors.

Glatfelter died Thursday at age 88. Here is what some community leaders said about his passing:

Joanne Riley, president of the Cultural Alliance of York County: "Art started our agency. He hired me. He trained me and was a great benefactor to the cultural alliance. He really loved the York community. He was a pillar. When I knew him, he was a gentleman. He was so honest, so forthcoming.

"I learned that though he was the most successful businessman I've ever met, he had integrity. Everything was done up-front and that was a life lesson for me, as well as his leadership style. If he was engaged, he was engaged. There was no half way about it. He jumped in with both feet. He was an exemplary leader. If you talked to 300 people in the York community, you would hear the same thing."

Mary Anne Winkelman, vice president, Cultural Alliance of York County: "This organization was his idea to have a unified way to fund the arts in the York community. It made all the difference. This organization has always had a very business type board of directors and (Art) understood it is a business to support the arts. It's his influence that made the organization as strong as it is. He was very attentive, very astute.


" The Cultural Alliance of York County was established in 1999.

Melissa Smith, executive director, York County SPCA: "He was absolutely a very generous and consistent friend to the York County SPCA. He was able to help so many others throughout his life, and what a gift that is. He as a wonderful person with a big heart. He loved animals and was very supportive of our organization." Smith said those donations included a contribution to the SPCA's new facility in Emigsville and the donation of a Chevrolet Suburban still being used for transporting large donations and animals.

Deb Stock, chief executive officer, YWCA York: "I am shocked (at his passing). I worked for him for 17 years before I took the CEO job at the YWCA. He's the reason I'm in this job. He was a great role model. I think of two things he said that I use to this day: always do your homework and never forget where you came from. He certainly lived by that.

"How he has helped our community is just immeasurable. It's not just about money and contributions with him, but social responsibility. That was a big thing he taught all of his employees and that has a ripple effect and it goes throughout your family and your community.

"He made an enormous difference in the lives of people and it's just the way he lived. Social responsibility and giving back to those less fortunate. He was very down to earth, very approachable, just a strong role model. When he made a suggestion or recommendation, you just listened very, very closely. He was so well respected by his employees, committed, very hard working, very focused. The number of lives he touched ...he's really an icon in York."

She added that the Gladfelter Insurance Group has been "a very big funder of our programs and has just given us tremendous support over the years."

David Chown, chancellor, Penn State York: "He made numerous donations for scholarships, for Dollars for Scholars. Obviously, he was a great friend of the university." Penn State York's Lee R. Glatfelter Library was named for his late wife.

Bill Webb, executive director, Congressional Fire Services Institute, based in Washington, D.C. "Art really helped get our organization launched. He was a founding board member. He played a very integral role in building support for the institute, not only on Capitol Hill, but for the fire service. He has a lot of admirers on Capitol Hill, on the Republican and Democrat side.

"Through his efforts, (the institute) remains a strong force in the fire service. He was also a mentor to me. He taught me about character, leadership and values. Art was somebody who was well-respected and well-admired.

"I once heard someone say that when you're in the room with Art Glatfelter, you're in the presence of greatness. That's how we all felt. He embodied what hard work was all about. He was always willing to share his wealth of knowledge and his financial wealth. He truly left an immeasurable impact with fire services with what he was able to accomplish."

John Brenner, former mayor of York City: "Anyone who knows Art Glatfelter, knows he was the quintessential American success story. He grew up in York County, went to WWII, built his company from the ground up and gave back to the community.

"I was honored to know him and work for him, and as mayor I was proud to present Art with a statue of his (German shepherd) Pal, who served the nation in combat. (Pal was one of 72 dogs entered into the 3rd Marine War Dog Platoon).

"The statue is there today along the York County Heritage Rail Trail, just south of King Street."

Debbie Krout-Althoff, executive director of York Habitat for Humanity: "There's not a nonprofit out there he hasn't helped."

Tony Campisi, president and CEO of Glatfelter Insurance Group: "Art considered firefighting a very noble occupation. In his mind, (firefighters) existed for all the right reasons. They wake up in the middle of the night to save their neighbor's home.

"He started a company that specialized in serving the insurance needs of fire departments and was always inspired by the selfless acts of fire services."