Deb Simoncek is Howard Borough’s first female mayor
HOWARD — Howard Borough has a new mayor, and for the first time in the town’s history, the title is held by a woman — Deborah “Deb” Simoncek.
Simoncek was sworn into her new role at the borough council’s reorganizational meeting held on Jan. 3, 2022. Notary Marissa Undercofler administered the oath of office decree to Simoncek with members of council and guests witnessing the historic event.
Simoncek considered the mayor’s position when she learned that former mayor, Robert “Bobby” Yearick, was not seeking re-election. Yearick previously served two consecutive four-year terms.
Deb is friendly and very active in the town’s organizations and groups, making her an ideal candidate to hold the seat. Simoncek ran unopposed on the Republican ballot in the November election.
Originally from Reading, Pa., Deb has been a physical therapist since 1990. Before moving to Centre County — and while living in Arizona — she was a commissioned officer of the U.S. Public Health Service at Indian Health Service in Phoenix, Ariz.
Currently, Deb is employed by Penn State University, Phoenix Physical Therapy and Chappell Physical Therapy where she does per diem physical therapy work. Previously she had worked at O’Neill Physical Therapy in State College for 17 years and was also part of the inactive reserves for 12 years.
Deb and her husband, Ed, have been married since 1993 and have lived on Maple Street in Howard since 1998. The couple have three children, Mattea (20); Mia (18) and Eddy (15). The girls are both studying at Penn State University where Ed works as an engineer and Eddy is still in high school. The family attends the Howard United Methodist Church. Deb enjoys hiking, running, gardening and almost anything outdoors.
Simoncek served on the borough’s Parks and Recreation Committee since moving to town. She can often be found pulling weeds, planting bulbs and flowers and mulching around the trees and flower beds at the town’s parks. She picks a day to put up and then takes down the Christmas lights and decorations at the gazebo in Howard’s Community Park each year. She may ask and get a few volunteers when doing these improvement projects and holiday decorating, but if no one else shows up she’ll tackle the projects alone making sure they always get done and that everything looks nice.
Deb also puts together the Howard calendar that is sold each year to raise money to pay for the supplies and things needed to maintain the parks and playgrounds in town.
Deb is hugely responsible for the paved, one-mile long path through town that is used frequently by walkers and bikers as a safe alternative to being near the high traffic areas of the town’s streets. It was her vision, diligence and her desire to promote physical fitness to those in her community that enabled her to secure the project blue prints, state and county grants and additional funding for the Howard Path to be built, dedicated and used by the residents since September 2013.
Additionally, Simoncek is an Emergency Medical Responder and the financial secretary with the Howard Fire Company, was heavily involved with the Howard Elementary and PTO when her children were younger and served as the band booster president at Bald Eagle Area High School when one of her daughters was involved with the high school band. Deb also serves on the Centre County Planning Committee and has been a volunteer at Bald Eagle State Park for 7-8 years with the blue bird population study.
Simoncek said that she “hopes to continue with trail building and other projects that will improve our town” and that she “looks forward to working with her neighbors, friends and the residents of Howard to address their concerns and remedy minor problems. Residents should feel free to bring their concerns to me or to borough council’s attention.”
Howard Borough Council meets the second Monday evening of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the borough building located at 146 Black St., Howard.