Frank F. "Bud" Law, 85, of Collingswood, who for four decades served his town in a variety of public offices, including mayor, died of congestive heart failure Wednesday, Dec. 15, at Collingswood Manor.

Anyone and everyone in Collingswood knew Mr. Law, or Bud, as he preferred to be called.

He was born and raised in the borough, where he met his future wife, another native, when they were 10 years old. They decided to raise their family in the small town where they grew up.

Over the years, Mr. Law became patriarch to the whole community. His white hair and round build naturally made him grandfatherly, or "a sort of Santa Claus in a golf cardigan," as an Inquirer reporter once described him.

But it was his enthusiasm and dedication to the borough that made him popular among residents.

Having served as school board president, borough commissioner, and mayor, among other posts, and long involved with the Collingswood Democratic Club, Mr. Law could have gone on to higher-level political jobs, but he put his hometown before any political gains.

"I never had the desire to get involved in county politics or anything beyond Collingswood," he said in a 1997 Inquirer article. "I couldn't stomach that. All I was interested in was Collingswood."

Mr. Law attended St. Joseph's Prep in Philadelphia for high school but transferred to Valley Forge Military Academy, where he graduated in 1943.

He entered the Navy that year and served as a recreation officer, teaching sailors how to swim and plunge into water from tall heights at Tulane University and then at a naval base in Pensacola, Fla., his family said.

When Mr. Law returned to Collingswood in 1946, he attended Temple University for a few semesters and started working as a salesman for Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, where he worked for 40 years. In 1947, he married Rita Ehret.

Mr. Law was elected to the Collingswood Board of Education in 1960 and served for 21 years, 19 of those as president.

He then served as borough commissioner for 16 years, including the last four years as mayor. He retired from public office in 1997.

During his retirement years, Mr. Law took up various part-time jobs. He was a manager at Collingswood Arms, a senior citizen housing complex, and worked at Blake Funeral Home as an assistant, driving and greeting people.

"He knew everyone," said his daughter Mary Pat Ryan. "And people just enjoyed seeing him."

Mr. Law continued to work at Collingswood Arms until two years ago, when his health started to decline, his family said.

In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Law is survived by sons Frank, Peter, Christopher, and James; daughters Mary Suzanne Boye and Francine Hern; 14 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

A viewing will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19, at Transfiguration Church, 445 White Horse Pike, Collingswood. Another viewing will be held from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 20, at Blake-Doyle Funeral Home, 226 Collins Ave., Collingswood.

A Funeral Mass will be said at 11 a.m. Monday, Dec. 20, at the church.

Interment will be in Calvary Cemetery, Cherry Hill.

Contact staff writer Claudia Vargas at 856-779-3917 or cvargas@phillynews.com.