The York Expo Center's Utz Arena on Sunday afternoon had a totally different aura.
The building was darker than usual, with beams of blue and orange light illuminating the walls, while ceiling lights were half-shrouded to calm their brightness.
Youth members of the Concorde Vocal Ensemble of the York County Senior Honors Choir filled the room with versions of "You Raise Me Up" and "Let the River Run," filling the building with grace, joy and a touch of bongo-infused soul.
The building was a hybrid of church and museum, with stations featuring the Marines, firefighters, insurance and animals lining its perimeter. More than 750 people flooded the building to honor and celebrate the life and legacy of the late Art Glatfelter, who died Feb. 14 at age 88.
As a Marine veteran, advocate for volunteer firefighters, successful businessman and lover of animals and the arts, Glatfelter's presence was evident throughout the event.
An undying legacy: He opened Glatfelter Insurance Group in 1951, leaving his name engraved on one of the largest privately owned insurance brokers in the region.
"Anyone who knew Art knew he didn't like to be the center of attention," said Tony Campisi, president and CEO of Glatfelter Insurance Group.
But on Sunday he was, whether he liked it or not, filling the hearts of family members, friends, business partners and community members. They all remembered his service to the community and his generous spirit.
Glatfelter helped establish the Cultural Alliance of York County, fund the SPCA's new facility in Emigsville and create two nonprofit organizations to support firefighters.
"The York community has been an enormous beneficiary of Art Glatfelter," Campisi said.
Lessons and memories: Three theatrical screens showed a film that honored Glatfelter through his own story.
The video began with the serenity of landscape. The thump of horses galloping and views of rural pastures were a reminder that this man called York County home and loved it dearly.
It then told his life story, beginning with his childhood in Loganville, through black and white photos that flickered on the screen. Glatfelter grew up in front of the audience, from little boy to strapping young man to established businessman.
Aside from his professional life, he rode horses and played football. The film showed his silly side too, from photos of a colorful bird perched on his shoulder to Glatfelter dressed up as a jailbird himself.
Local leaders, such as Tom Wolf, Bob Woods and Robert Simpson, spoke about his great impact on the community and the lessons he imparted.
Some "Art-isms" included: "Blaze your own trail"; "Leave the world a better place than you found it"; "Work hard, be friendly, do what's right"; and "Lead, follow or get the hell out of the way."
The video also featured portions of an interview with Glatfelter himself, recorded about 10 years ago.
"I never thought about failing," Glatfelter said in the video. "I never did."
He laughed and joked with Campisi, who interviewed him in the clips. The footage brought a special, human quality to the celebration.
Campisi called it "priceless."
- Reach Mollie Durkin at firstname.lastname@example.org.