"Keep the faith," the former
Rooney died Monday at his home in
A Democrat, Rooney grew up in
Rooney remained in the
He later established his own consulting business, representing clients such as Conrail, the
Rooney's empathy and compassion were contagious, and his willingness to help was endless, nephew and Bethlehem attorney
He and his late older brother Leo, a
Rooney is survived by his wife,
Rooney was the son of an Irish-American immigrant,
In 1944, after graduating from
In 1950, with support from the GI Bill, Rooney earned a business degree from the
During his five-year tenure in
"They just don't make them like him anymore,"
Both T.J. and
After winning the special election in 1963, Rooney retained
"He knew the true meaning of respect: how to give it and how to receive it," Baurkot said. "His constituents would come in and they would have a problem, and you know what his response was? 'Don't worry; don't worry.'"
Rooney was also a "great friend of labor," according to
"We could always count on Fred," he said. "Anytime you had an issue, he'd make himself available to help. He had our backs."
"He was highly thought of by the Democratic Party in the
By the end of his congressional tenure, Rooney was a high-ranking member of the Transportation Committee with a specialty on railroad issues. Freeman credited Rooney with helping to convince
The state Legislature in 2009 renamed
Rooney's nephew Fred said he was particularly proud of his efforts to support the
In 1976, he also served as one of the architects of the legislation that created Conrail, a government-funded private company that took over the railroads of bankrupt companies. The subsidies were a Baroint of contention in the 1978 upset loss to Ritter.
"He loved people and always tried to do everything he could for them," she said. "He never said no to anyone."
The Rooney family will hold a service
Morning Call reporter
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