Arrangements are being set to memorialize a former Somerset County lawmaker who died Saturday following a tractor accident last week.
Cambria County Coroner Jeff Lees confirmed the Somerset-based Miller Funeral Home is handling funeral arrangements for William “Bob” Bastian, who spent a decade representing much of Somerset County – and the 69th District – as its state representative before retiring in 2008.
State Sen. Patrick Stefano, R-Fayette, posted a tribute to Bastian on social media Sunday, crediting the Friedens area man for paving the way for Somerset County Republicans at the state level.
He included a photo of Bastian and himself standing together and recalled a tour of the county Bastian gave him during the senator’s 2014 run.
“Bob was Somerset County: Hard working, good humored and community minded,” Stefano wrote. “He made Somerset County a better place to live and his impact will certainly outlive him.”
Bastian was first elected to the state House in 1998.
He also spent several years as chairman of the Somerset County Republican Party.
He was also a founding board member of Camp Cadet in Somerset.
Members wrote on the camp’s Facebook page that Bastian was “instrumental” in launching the nonprofit in 2000.
“Rest easy, Bob,” they wrote. “We’ll take it from here.”
Bastian was critically injured Thursday while cutting wood at the side of his John Deere tractor when he was run over by the vehicle.
Bastian was pronounced dead at 10:55 a.m. Saturday at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center.
Lees ruled the death an accident and said blunt force trauma from the tractor’s tire was to blame.
Bastian retired in 2008 and remained in Somerset County.
In announcing his retirement from politics a decade ago, he said he had no regrets about stepping down.
“When you work right, it’s a very time-consuming (job),” Bastian said, noting there were issues of every kind to solve.
“I did the job people asked me to do.”