Former Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Robert Quirk died Thursday. He was 84.

Mr. Quirk served three terms as mayor of Summit County’s second largest city from 1974 until 1985.

Mr. Quirk grew up in Kearny, N.J., and earned a degree in history and speech from the University of Pittsburgh.

He served as corporal in the 3rd Infantry Division of the U.S. Army in the Korean War, where he received the Combat Infantry Medal of Honor, the Korean Campaign Medal, a Purple Heart and five battle stars.

Mr. Quirk began teaching in Pennsylvania where he taught English for two years. After moving to Cuyahoga Falls in 1961, Mr. Quirk taught English and history at Sill Junior High and Cuyahoga Falls High School.

“I had Mr. Quirk for history class. He was passionate about the subject and I always enjoyed going to that class,” wrote John Medeiros of Powell on Mr. Quirk’s obituary page. “Good memories. He was a good man.”

In his sixth year of teaching, Mr. Quirk began serving as city councilman for two terms. After being submerged into the world of politics, Mr. Quirk ran for mayor in 1973. He defeated the incumbent mayor William Coleman, becoming the city’s first Democratic mayor in 25 years.

“He brought a school teacher mentality to the city,” Eric Czetli, who served as the clerk of courts during Mr. Quirk’s time in office, said on Sunday. “He expected people to be on time, and he was very much an ‘in control’ type of mayor.”

While Mr. Quirk was mayor, he was well-known for dealing with the energy crisis the country faced in the 1970s. He testified before the U.S. Senate subcommittees in 1975 and 1978 on the question of energy and high electric costs.

Don Walters, the current mayor of Cuyahoga Falls, said the way Mr. Quirk handled energy bills is the same way the city does today.

That isn’t the only thing Walters attributes to Mr. Quirk, though. Walters grew up with Mr. Quirk as a neighbor, exposing him to politics at a young age.

“I always bragged that I knew the mayor. That was my claim to fame,” Walters said. “That kind of piqued my interest in local government.”

Walters remembers when Mr. Quirk spoke at his high school, and even when he broke up a riot outside of the school.

“I always looked up to him as mayor,” Don Walters said. “I’m honored to be in that same position.”

Mr. Quirk also ran for the 14th District congressional seat in 1986, although he withdrew from the race, saying he “didn’t want to get back into the political world this quickly.”

Mr. Quirk is survived by his four children, 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister, Dot Boisvert, and many nieces and nephews.

The family is planning a private service.

Theresa Cottom can be reached at 330-996-3216 or tcottom@thebeaconjournal.com.