Carbon recorder of deeds McCall dies
Carbon County has lost a fixture in the Democratic Party.
Emmett P. McCall, the county recorder of deeds, died Wednesday night at the age of 80.
McCall served as the recorder of deeds in Carbon County since 1999, most recently filing a petition seeking his sixth term in the upcoming primary election. The office will now be run by his staff until a new recorder of deeds is elected.
County officials who were close to McCall were saddened by the news this morning, speaking highly of a friend who touched so many lives over the years.
“It’s sad,” said Billy O’Gurek, chairman of the Democratic Party of Carbon County. “He was a friend to so many of us and a mentor. He was a tough guy. He fought through a lot the last couple of months, and we are going to miss him. He brought a lot to a lot of people’s lives.”
O’Gurek’s father, Carbon County Commissioner William O’Gurek, echoed his son’s thoughts.
“All of us are deeply saddened by the loss of a true friend and a great man,” O’Gurek said. “Emmett was deeply committed to his family, friends, community, church and county. The one thing I will always remember about him is how tremendously loyal he was to the people he cared about. There was nothing he wouldn’t do for them.
“I know Siobhan and I and our family feel that way and will really miss him. We loved him so much and want to offer our condolences to Emmett Jr., Pat, Mike and Terry and their families at this most difficult time.”
Robert Crampsie, county controller, who had known McCall for years and served with him in many area organizations, said, “Emmett was a lifelong friend of mine.
“He was always willing to help anyone in any way. I will miss him immensely as will many others. He was an integral part of the Carbon County Hall of Fame and The Panther Valley Irish American Association. He loved being with people, which led to his passion for politics. He definitely was a people person. I will cherish the many good memories I have of him. My condolences to his sons Emmett, Pat Michael and Terry.”
Prothonotary Joann Behrens said, “Emmett was such a good friend to me and to all who knew him. He was always there to help anyone that needed it. I will never forget when I first ran for office. Emmett took me all over campaigning and never stopped. He is one of the reasons why I sit here today as county prothonotary.”
“Emmett and I always said you and I came in together, we’re going out together. Not the way I wanted to see Emmett go out. He’s always been a great elected official to work with,” Commissioners’ Chairman Wayne Nothstein said. “He will really be missed not only as a friend, but a coworker.”
Nothstein said he spoke to the staff and they are visibly upset.
“It’s going to be a difficult time for them,” he said. “As a friend and coworker you can’t ask for any more than Emmett McCall.”
“Emmett didn’t let the Republican or Democrat come into play,” said Commissioner Thomas J. Gerhard. “He was a friend to everyone. He was involved. He was a caring, giving man. My thoughts and prayers go out to the McCall family.”
McCall was a fixture in the county administration building and in the community, serving on various committees and organizations, including serving the Lansford Little League for eight years as a manager and coach; piloted the former St. Ann Parochial School basketball team for many years; and was a coach and officer in the Panther Valley Catholic Youth Organization for 35 years, during which time he was its secretary and president.
He was also a charter member of the Carbon County Area Sports Hall of Fame; was a member of the Men of Marian, Marian Alumni and Marian Hall of Fame Committee, which he helped establish in 2004; formerly served as a captain of the Heart Drive in Lansford; twice served as exalted ruler of the former Elks Lodge No. 1337, Lansford; co-chaired the campaign committee for state Sen. John T. Yudichak; and was a member of the Carbon County Democratic Executive Committee.
Born Dec. 31, 1938, he was a son of the late Patrick and Helen (Shields) McCall and was one of seven children. A brother, John, preceded him in death on March 9 in Florida.
McCall was a lifelong resident of the county, residing in Lansford.
He was married to the former Mary Ellen Sniscak, who passed away on Aug. 26, 2015. They have five sons, Emmett Jr., Michael, Patrick, Terry, and the late Connell.
In 1973, he received the Allentown Diocese Bishop McShea Leadership Award for distinguished service.
He received the 43rd annual Shamrock Award by the Panther Valley Irish-American Association in 1990.
During his first term in office, McCall began the Affordable Housing Program through a fee collected on every deed recorded in the office, which to this day, still helps county residents with housing rehabilitation projects.
In 2011, McCall was honored as the grand marshal of the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Jim Thorpe.
McCall loved his family and his community more than anything and it showed through his everyday life.
“People like Emmett don’t come around that often,” William O’Gurek said. “He was the type of person who you felt fortunate to have had in your life.”