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'A true friend' – Leaders in the Poconos recall champion of the region

Robert Uguccioni passed away over the weekend from cancer.

STROUDSBURG, Pa. — Known as Mr. Pocono, there's a lot you can say about a man who's known by the area and helped transform.

A pioneer in putting the Pocono Mountains on the map for premiere hospitality and tourism, Robert Uguccioni, passed away over the weekend from cancer.

State Senator Mario Scavello called him a colleague turned friend.

"He was a true friend. You can sit down with Bob and have a laugh and talk about things that happened that we'd joke about all the time, and I'm not going to go into specifics, but he was one of those guys that he always had that smile on his face and if he disagreed, you would know by looking at him," said Scavello.

Uguccioni was the first president and CEO of the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau, overseeing the Poconos when it was known as the honeymoon destination.

"Not only of Pennsylvania, of the United States, but of the world — and that was a huge growth path for the Poconos," said Chris Barrett, the current president and CEO of the visitors bureau.

Barrett says the resorts you see now throughout the Poconos region are here because of Uguccioni.

"A little water park called Great Wolf Lodge decided to locate here, and it opened in 2005. That was under his tenure. So, he actually started the resurgence of the Pocono Mountains with indoor waterparks," Barrett said.

Those who knew him best say he dedicated his life to bettering the Poconos, and he'll be missed.

"I'm going to miss the person, and those types of people don't come around that often, and it's very, very hard to replace a man with that breadth of his knowledge," said Scavello.

"I was very fortunate to have been able to have that advice from him and to take his guidance and his mentorship, and I guess my thing is moving forward, I hope I can provide that to somebody to continue that because he would have liked that," Barrett said.

Uguccioni is survived by his three children as well as grandchildren and numerous friends.

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