Hellertown Mayor Richard “Rich” Fluck is 84 and has spent the last 48 years in service to the borough, both as a councilman and–for the last 20 years–as mayor.
He’s still in good health and continues to work part-time for a local florist, but he’s decided to end his political career by not seeking a record sixth four-year term.
“It was hard,” Fluck said of his decision not to seek another term as mayor. But his age weighed heavily in the process.
“I’ll be 85 at the end of December, and if I was fortunate enough to get four more years I’d be 89 at the end of the term,” he said.
Fluck began his political career in Hellertown in 1968 at the urging of his late father-in-law, Harry Gregory, who served as both a councilman and borough constable.
After attending council meetings for a year, Fluck was elected to council and later served as both vice president and president before running for his first term as mayor in 1997.
A graduate of William Allen High School in Allentown, Fluck has lived most of his life in Hellertown.
He is a veteran of the Korean War and a member of the Edward H. Ackerman American Legion Chapter 397 in Hellertown. He annually delivers remarks at the Legion’s ceremonies commemorating Memorial Day and Veterans Day in Hellertown Union Cemetery.
One of his proudest moments as mayor, he said, was when he became the first recipient of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Mayor of the Year Award in 2006.
He is also proud of the work he’s done to help promote Hellertown as an attractive place to open a business.
“I was a very big advocate for the business district and I’m still doing that,” he said, adding that his goal continues to be occupancy of all the storefronts on Main Street.
“We’ve got a very clean town and a good park system,” Fluck said. Crime is low, the police department is top-notch and the school system is excellent, which is why Hellertown continues to be a popular place to move to and raise a family, he added.
That was exactly what he did, and over the decades Fluck’s family has grown to include four generations, including eight great-grandchildren.
Fluck credited his loved ones–and particularly his wife Janice–for always being supportive of his political career.
Although he’ll miss the familiar routine of being Hellertown’s mayor, Fluck said he’ll continue to be visible around the Saucon Valley, where he’s a member of the Saucon Valley Partnership and a volunteer for the Saucon Valley Farmers’ Market.
“I’m not going away,” he said. In fact, he’s even weighed the idea of “going back on council” if the opportunity arises.
“I always tried to do what I thought was best for the residents” and be a good listener, Fluck said, adding that he will miss working with people like former borough manager Charlie Luthar and current manager Cathy Hartranft.
Hellertown will remain a special place because of the people who call it home, and the mayor said he’s very happy to see that after many years in public service here.