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A stretch of U.S. Route 322 from County Line Lane to State Route 117 in Campbelltown is now the Commissioner William E. Ames Memorial Highway, honoring the Lebanon County commissioner who died on Dec. 28, 2021 from complications related to COVID-19.
Ames, a Republican, was first elected commissioner in 2011 and was in the midst of his third term when he passed away.
His career spanned over five decades and included stints as an industrial arts teacher, township supervisor, and successful business owner before his election to the county’s highest office.
Public officials, colleagues, relatives, and friends gathered in 90-plus-degree heat and humidity Tuesday afternoon in the parking lot of the Mount Gretna Craft Brewery for the unveiling of a sign marking the designation.
State Senator Chris Gebhard, who sponsored the measure in the General Assembly to rename the highway, remembered Ames as an “active member of the Lebanon County Republican Committee, where he was well known for his outspokenness and staunchly conservative views.”
“In addition to his teaching career, he had years of public service. Bill was also a very successful businessman here in the Lebanon Valley,” Gebhard said. “Honestly, I think it’s not an understatement to say he was one of the pillars of this community.”
County Commissioner Bob Phillips, Lebanon Mayor Sherry Capello, and Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce President Karen Groh added praise for Ames’ decades of service to his students, his community, and the county.
Gebhard also read a statement from Dauphin County Commissioner Mike Pries, a former student of Ames, who could not attend due to illness.
Pries said that “Bill Ames meant a lot to me in my life. He was a mentor as my teacher, he built my parents’ home in 1976, and they are still there today.” Pries sent along a proclamation passed by the Dauphin County Commissioners “remembering, celebrating, and commemorating” Ames’ life and service.
Speaking after the ceremony, Ames’ wife, Josie said “what an honor for him, and this means so much to me and my family. I think he’s looking down and laughing at us because we’re all sweating out here.”
Referring to some distant thunder that rumbled during a speaker’s remarks, she added, “That was Bill.”
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