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Old Chester, PA: Biographical Sketches

Mayor Joseph L. Eyre

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Photograph courtesy of
Jane Unger,

"Mr. Republican" Joe Eyre Dies 15 69

(A biographical sketch, Delaware County Daily Times, Wednesday, December 29, 1976)
Contributed by Pete Mooney,

pg. 1

Joseph L. Eyre, 69, a near legend in Delaware County politics, died Tuesday at Sacred Heart Hospital, Chester.

    Eyre became known as "Mr. Republican" for the walloping GOP majorities he produced through the years while serving as mayor of Chester, city Republican chairman, Delaware County Recorder of Deeds, and four terms as Representative in the county's 7th Congressional District. He wielded considerable power on the Republican Board of Supervisors, better known as the War Board, until it was succeeded in early 1975 by the county Council of Republican District Representatives (CRDR).  Despite the demise of the War Board, Eyre was unanimously elected by men and women of the 159th state legislative district to be their CRDR representative.

   Eyre's reputation was that of a master politician- one of a doer and worker who "made things happen". His reputation was enhanced by a two-fisted, cocksure attitude in taking on all comers.
(unreadable -missing words) "Those fellows in Washington want to know everything. I'm glad there isn't a Congressional election every year."

   It was during the general election of 1974 that WCAU-TV aired a variety of allegations charging voting and patronage abuses by the city GOP machine that prompted this response from Eyre; "The whole program was contrived to be anti-Republican. They presented all the old accusations, allegations and inuendoes without a figment of evidence to support their claims."

   But the accusations, allegations and inuendoes eventially took their toll and prompted the party reorganization in the spring of 1975, resulting in the breakup of the War Board. Eyre made no secret of his resentment over the "modern  politics' of the new CRDR and  even advised fellow Chester Republicans not to read the tabloid newspaper distributed by the county GOP organization.

   OF DEVELOPMENTS during that time, Eyre said:

   "The way these new people are running the Republican Party in this county- it's going to be disastrous. In the old days, you didn't get a job if you weren't a registered Republican. That's basic politics, plain and simple. I think the party is in serious trouble. We're OK here in Chester,but the rest of the county, they got their problems."

   " He'll be greatly missed as a politician in the City of Chester." said Judge Louis A. Bloom.

   Judge Bloom was city solicitor when Eyre was mayor. Their friendship was of 35 years standing. "He had a good heart and was always willing to help people and offer assistance in the less fortunate. He and his wife were exceptionally devoted to families in the immediate area, said Bloom.

   " He was one of the old Irish type politicians. He worked hard to get people jobs in industry,"
said Judge Clement J. McGovern whose late father had worked at one time with Eyre in the county
assessor's office.

pg. 3

   "HE WAS a hard-working type politician and was a politician 24 hours a day. He was a master
politician, one of the wisest. He was also a humble person with tremendous insight," Judge McGovern said.

    "He was an old and dear friend, one of the Republican Party's greatest people," said Harry McNichol, former War Board chairman. " He was a fine individual and that's more important than being a good politician"

    " He was like a father to me," said Kathleen Macuk, who served as his secretary for 34 years.  A secretary at the Republican Party Executive Headquarters in Media, Mrs. Macuk described
Eyre as "a wonderful man."

   ' His main objective in being a politician was taking care of people, especially the little man.
Getting out the vote was secondary to him."

   Mayor John Nacrelli referred to Eyre as a "good friend" and said ' the city has lost a good
friend and staunch supporter."

   Eyre was born in Chester and was a direct descendant of John Larkin, first mayor and chief magistrate of Chester. He attended Chester schools. He was employed at Sun Company(Sun Oil
Company) before entering politics. He held numerous political jobs and offices in both Chester
and in the county. Prior to World War II, he was head of the board of Assessments and Revision of
Taxes. He worked his way up through the ranks to become the top Republican official in the county and had served two terms as mayor of Chester.

   Funeral arrangements are being made by the John E. Carr Funeral Home, 21 Street and Providence Avenue, Chester.

   Surviving are his wife, the former Laura B. McIntyre, a daughter Jane Eyre Cardwell, of Media,
and two grandsons.





If you have any information and or pictures that you would like to contribute about individuals in Chester, please forward it to john@oldchesterpa.com

2000 John A. Bullock III.

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