Ken Staab
Ken Staab

North York's longtime mayor, a well-known mainstay of the borough, died last week after succumbing to his third battle with cancer.

Kenneth Staab, 67, had been visiting a son in South Dakota over the Christmas holiday when he became ill and was hospitalized, said his sister, Jessica Hilt of Springettsbury Township.

Hilt said her brother had overcome bladder cancer several years ago, but was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2012. He was given a clean bill of health when he left York around the holidays, as doctors said the lung cancer was cleared after chemotherapy. But after his out-of-state hospitalization, doctors found that he had cancerous lesions on his brain, Hilt said.

He died Tuesday, Feb. 18. While he was a long way from the town he had served for decades, Hilt said it was a blessing that he was near his son at his death.

Borough councilwoman Sandra Hinkle said Staab was a diligent mayor who seemed to be known by almost everyone in the community.

"Everyone was always very concerned when he had health issues, and they stood behind him," she said.

Supported police: He was known for his love of the Golden Oldies and professional sports, as well his support of the Northern Regional Police Department, Hinkle said.

Chief Mark Bentzel said Staab represented the borough on the police department's board from 1997 to 2005 and 2008 to the time of his death, serving as chairman a couple of times.

Bentzel said the friendly mayor often showed up 30 or 40 minutes early for the meetings at the police station, just so he could talk to people. He continued to attend the meetings even when he was ill, and the chemotherapy had caused him to lose his hair, Bentzel said.

"He was the kind of guy that I think, with everyone he talked to, it just seemed like he was making a friend," the chief said. "He was an easy guy to be around and befriend. It seemed like everyone knew him."

Staab liked to talk about his fantasy baseball team, and the two bantered because the chief is a Phillies fan, while Staab liked the Yankees, Bentzel said.

Bentzel said events around the community will be different in Staab's absence.

"Ken was one of those people that came to everything," he said. "Social gatherings, Christmas parties, retirement parties. He was always invited and always came."

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 10, at the John W. Keffer Funeral Home, 2114 W. Market St.

— Reach Christina Kauffman at ckauffman@yorkdispatch.com.