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Richard "Dick" Pontz

Posted By DeBord-Snyder Funeral Home & Crematory On October 20, 2010 @ 8:09 pm In Obituaries | No Comments

In Memorial

Richard “Dick” Pontz, of Brethren Village, Lancaster, died on Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at age 95. Born on April 27, 1915, he was a son of Clarence E. and Emma Minder Pontz. Dick was a professional capital fund campaign director for philanthropic agencies for thirty years prior to retirement in 1986. He owned his own business, Richard Pontz & Associates, for most of his career. Pontz is survived by his wife, Janet Case Yager Pontz. He was predeceased by his first wife, M. Katherine Gollatz Pontz in 1974, and second wife, Evelyn Mantyla Pontz in 1998. In addition to his wife, Janet, Dick is survived by his three children: Barbara Jean, wife of Brian R. Tolbert, and R. Michael, both of Lancaster; Susan Elizabeth, wife of John Pappariella, Mechanicsburg; seven grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren. Surviving also are a stepdaughter, Joyce E. Mantyla, wife of Jack Weissman, Palm Beach, FL and NYC, and a sister, Dorothy Parmer, Lancaster. Two sisters, Marguerite Fulmer and Jennie Killian, and three brothers – Clarence, Jr., Edward and Chester – preceded him in death. He is also survived by Janet’s son-inlaw, Bruce Hepburn, Lancaster, husband of Susan, and three Hepburn step- grandchildren: Susan, Denver, Colorado; Jim, Philadelphia, and Laurie Fellenbuam, Lancaster, wife of Steve, and their son, Foster, Lancaster. He was predeceased by stepdaughter- in-law, Barbara Hepburn. In his early professional life, Pontz was well known and widely recognized for his professional leadership services with the local, State, and National Council YMCA. He became a Lancaster Y member at age 12. Besides his work and family, the local YMCA was his passion.” In his later years, Dick served on the Lancaster Board of the YMCA Foundation and Camp Shand Committee. In the 78th year of his Y association, the Y’s “Pathfinder Endowment Fund” was named in his honor. He and Janet delighted in touring the new Lancaster YMCA with Executive Director, Jeff Kenderdine, after its completion. In addition to his own support for the new Y, Dick used his financial development skills to personally bring significant other financial support to the Y’s Capital Campaign while in his early 90’s. Pontz’s tenure with the local YMCA, over a twenty-year span, involved service as a counselor and resident director of Camp Shand; a member of YMCA’ s National Camping Commission; President of the State YMCA’s Youth Work Directors. By age 28, the Lancaster YMCA Board elected Pontz to a newly created position, Associate General Executive. Earlier, at age 19, he had been the youngest Camp Shand Director. In 1945, Pontz resigned from the Lancaster YMCA staff to accept a position with the National Council YMCA as co-director of Pennsylvania for the World youth Fund which raised millions of dollars for restoration work in countries affected by WWII.
Following this position, he established a public relations and fund consulting agency for human service institutions. A year later, Camp Sunapee, a private camp for boys in New Hampshire, was acquired by Pontz and his first wife, Katherine. The camp enrolled youth from 12 states and Central America, and, at one point, became the subject of an eight-page color spread in “Sports Illustrated” magazine. The Pontzes sold Camp Sunapee in 1954, and the Pontz agency became active in six Eastern States conducting feasibility studies and capital fund campaigns for hospitals, churches, YMCA’s and retirement centers over a period of the next thirty years. Included in Lancaster area projects were: Community Hospital (formerly “Lancaster Osteopathic”); the Boy Scouts’ Council; Brethren Village; Luther Acres; The Farm and Home Center; Lancaster YMCA and numerous churches. Following the sale of Camp Sunapee, the Pontz family continued to summer at their property in the New London, NH area near Lake Sunapee. Dick’s volunteer commitments included guiding the initial fund-raising in 1963 for restoration of the Fulton Opera House; advancing financial response for building the Long’s Park Amphitheater; advisor to the Child Development Center; and advising area health care agencies in effective public relations. He was a member of the committee, which made an extensive study in 1985 of policies and funding needs of the Lancaster County Library System. He was named “Volunteer of the Year” by the Lancaster YMCA also that year for services to Camp Shand and the Y in general. At age 75, he researched and compiled a “100 Year History” of Camp Shand, which the Y published in 1994. He served as “Honorary Chairman” of the Y’s 100th Year celebration. Pontz went on to be Director of Finance at Brethren Village where he cultivated financial support in the millions during the 1970’s. As a consequence, steady expansion of facilities permitted the Board of Directors to nearly triple the Village’s capacity of residents and nursing care patients. He frequently referred to this experience as among his most challenging and satisfying leadership endeavors. He had been a resident of Brethren Village since 1995. A lifelong Lutheran, he was a member of Emmanuel Lutheran Church where he held several leadership positions including serving on the Church Council. In 1989, Pontz delivered the message at the Lancaster Community’s Good Friday Breakfast at the Farm & Home Center. In addition to the Y, Pontz was a member of The American Association of Fund- Raising Counsel where he served as a board member for 20 years; The American Camping Association; the Fulton Opera House Foundation Board; the Long’s Park Amphitheater Foundation; founding committee and board member of the Parish Resource Center; and Lodge #43, Fraternal & accepted Masons. A former member of Lancaster Kiwanis Club, Pontz also had been a charter member of the Lancaster Exchange Club, and served as president and District Governor of the National Exchange Club. An individual with varied interests and abilities, Dick’s hobbies included woodworking and gardening. During the early years of residency at Brethren Village, e oversaw the extensive rose gardens through the Green Thumb Society, often taking full responsibility for pruning 100 rose bushes. He and his wife, Evelyn, traveled extensively abroad and in the States. He enjoyed playing a chromatic harmonica since youth. Dick was known as an excellent writer and had beautiful hand-writing until his last days. His writing skills were honed over many years of writing materials for capital appeals and countless personal letters. Until recent days, Dick kept up an active correspondence and often said that if he had not written a letter to someone during that day, the day did not feel complete. In 2007, he completed writing a book of his memoirs. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, October 23, 2010 at 11:00 A.M. at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, corner of West Walnut and Pine Streets, Lancaster, PA with the Rev. Kurt S. Strause officiating. Interment will be private and at the convenience of the family in Greenwood Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to the Memorial Fund at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 540 W. Walnut St., Lancaster, PA 17603 or to the Lancaster YMCA Camp Shand Fund for Campships, 265 Harrisburg Avenue, Lancaster, PA 17603. Arrangements by the Kearney A. Snyder Funeral Home.


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