The same words keep cropping up when A. Matthew Dudish's name is mentioned: Gentleman. Nice. Respected.
Dudish, Schuylkill County's Recorder of Deeds since 1999, and active in the Republican party, died early Thursday after a monthslong battle with pulmonary fibrosis.
A lung transplant in March had offered hope for the longtime public servant.
His funeral will be held at noon Wednesday at St. Patrick's Church, Pottsville.
"I certainly got to know Matt very well while I served as commissioner, said state Rep. Jerry Knowles, R-124. "He was a kind, soft-spoken man. He was a likable guy everybody liked Matt Dudish, because that's the kind of guy he was. He had many friends on both sides of the aisle."
Former Democratic county Commissioner Mantura Gallagher can vouch for that.
"I cannot remember not knowing Matt Dudish. We both grew up on the east side of Pottsville, we were high school friends at Pottsville Area High School, and finally we were colleagues together in the courthouse. Matt was a nice guy. He was respected and liked by both political parties. We will miss him. I extend my sympathy and prayers to Matt's family," she said.
Dudish, who also owned Anthracite Abstract, was proficient in technology.
"He modernized that office from top to bottom," said state Sen. David G. Argall, R-29. "He brought a very specialized knowledge with him, based on his career. He will certainly be missed."
Argall said Gov. Tom Corbett will appoint a successor who, by law, must be of the same political party. The senate majority must confirm the governor's choice.
In the meantime, First Deputy Recorder of Deeds Marcia Schultz will handle Dudish's responsibilities.
"I worked for Matt for a long time. He was a great boss, and a great guy. He brought a lot of technology to office. He was fair and good to his employees, and fair and good to everyone. Matt was always available to talk to anybody who came into the office. This is a real loss to the county, and to the office," she said.
Schuylkill County Commissioner George F. Halcovage remembers Dudish as a "real fighter" throughout his illness.
"Matt was a real family man. His wife was by his side during this whole unfortunate situation. They put things in God's hands, and it was time to move on to eternal life. The whole county is saddened.We pray for his wife and children, and all themembers of this family," he said.
"Matt was truly a friend to everyone. he was a great public servant. I learned so much from him. He had great compassion for everyone whose life he touched. The courthouse yesterday was somber and reflective. Matt's death brings home the reality of how fragile life really is," Halcovage said.
"Matt will be missed by everyone, but his staff will continue his legacy of serving the people of the county. Schuylkill County was blessed to have someone of Matt's integrity and family values," Halcovage said. "He was an all-around great human being."
Dudish also volunteered to better his community, serving on the board of directors of the former Orwigsburg Ambulance Association and being active in the local Lions Club.
"He was just a real gentleman," said Wayne E. Lutsey, who served with Dudish on the ambulance board. "This is really a loss."