HEMPFIELD TWP. (KDKA) — A Hempfield Area school board member died Tuesday, one week after winning the Democratic primary. He was running for his third term.

Joseph Lutz, 54, had gone to the hospital on election night after an infection from an ulcer spread.

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Lutz is survived by his wife, son, two sisters and 12-year-old daughter.

Friends and colleagues say it was people, not policy, that drove Lutz’s career.

“When we voted on something he always wanted to make sure the human being was covered. If were considered eliminating positions, how were these people gonna be affected because we’re talking about livelihoods of people,” Hempfield Area School Board President Sonya Brajdic said.

“He was a friend to everybody. When you talk about Joe Lutz, the comment you hear most is he always had time to talk to us. Being on the board was a huge part of his life,” Superintendent Dr. Barbara J. Marin said.

Lutz was one of five vying for four seats in the general election. Baring something exceptional, the four remaining candidates are assured wins come November.

The school board will have to appoint someone to Lutz’s seat for the rest of his term.

“We have 30 days legally we have to go through an interview process,” Brajdic said.

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