The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Danville News

April 22, 2014

Montour County loses iconic Mayor Esther Cotner

WASHINGTONVILLE — Mayor Esther Cotner always got the same greeting from Montour County Commissioner Jack Gerst..

“When I got back from the service, I rented a place right next door to her. I loved her to come over and talk to us. I loved her. Every time I saw her, I would give her a big kiss and a hug,” Gerst said Monday.

Cotner, Washingtonville’s mayor since 2005, died at age 95 on Monday.

“She was a great citizen of the county and a good person,” Gerst said.

“She served on numerous boards including as a commissioner,” he said.

Washingtonville Borough Council President Frank Dombroski said he enjoyed working many years with Cotner.

“She just loved that town so much she refused to give up,” he said.

“She’s going to be dearly missed out there,” he said of Washingtonville.

“She was quite a lady,” said Dombroski who first began working with her through the Jane E. DeLong Memorial Hall in Washingtonville where Cotner served as board president.

Dombroski worked with Cotner when she was council secretary and later as mayor.

She also served with the municipal authority.

Cotner’s funeral service will be conducted in the DeLong Hall. It will be the first funeral service to be held in the hall.  

Funeral arrangements will be announced Wednesday.

“The hall was her pride and joy,” Dombroski said.

Dombroski said the council, at its next meeting, will have to determine the process of appointing a successor.

“It’s going to be sad without her,” he said.

Former County Commissioner Darla Gill said Cotner was appointed as a commissioner after Commissioner Tom Herman stepped down to take a state position.

Gill described Cotner as a pioneer among women in the county, serving in public office such as district judge.

“She was a smart lady, a good public servant and very dedicated,” Gill said.

“She was a hard-working public servant,” Gill said.

“Her granddaughter was a swimming champion in college and I know she was very proud of her,” Gill said.

Cotner and her family recently celebrated her 95th birthday. She turned 95 on April 8.

When interviewed by phone, Cotner said she still occasionally swept the street in front of her house.

Her four-year term as mayor expires in December 2015.

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