Daniel Edward Beren, 85, formerly of Meadowbrook, a five-term state legislator from eastern Montgomery County in the 1960s and '70s, died Sunday, Dec. 14, of complications from an aortic aneurysm at the Woods at Cedar Run in Camp Hill.
In 1967, Mr. Beren became an elected representative to Pennsylvania's General Assembly from the 153d District. He was reelected four times, and became known for his commitment to honest government, his family said.
During his time in the legislature, Mr. Beren was assigned to these committees: Elections and Apportionment, Motor Vehicles and Highway Safety, Mines and Minerals, Consumer Protection, State Government, Transportation, and Urban Affairs.
In the 1960s, he called for legislation to allow tax credits for pollution control, to ban leaf burning, and to provide mandatory classes for those convicted of DUI. He led a select committee to investigate gang violence and slayings in Philadelphia. He took an egalitarian approach, asking communities to come together and help solve their own problems.
He was credited with creating the Neighborhood Assistance Program, which revitalizes neighborhoods by using tax credits to urge a partnership between community organizations and the business community. "He was very proud of that," said his daughter, Sandra.
During his tenure, Mr. Beren also served as chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Party.
After leaving public office in 1977, Mr. Beren went to Harrisburg to practice law. He moved in the 1980s to nearby Wormleysburg, Cumberland County.
At his retirement in 2010, Mr. Beren was chairman emeritus of the state government relations section of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC. He was the first managing partner of the law firm's Harrisburg office and founded its government relations practice.
Born in Philadelphia, Mr. Beren was raised in Elkins Park and graduated from Cheltenham High School in 1947.
Because, in Mr. Beren's own words, "I forgot to study," Mr. Beren's parents sent him to the Pennington Prep School in New Jersey for an additional year of classes. He graduated in 1952 from Baldwin-Wallace College, which he chose because of track star Harrison Dillard, an Olympic gold medalist who was enrolled there.
Mr. Beren earned a law degree in 1955 from Temple University. While studying for the bar exam, he was drafted into the Army and sent to Germany, where he served until 1957. He took a leave to marry Joan Cranmer in Waverly, N.Y. A year later, the two returned to Pennsylvania, where they spent the rest of their lives.
A lifelong athlete, Mr. Beren swam or ran daily. He was dedicated to Penn State football, and took road trips to State College during the playing season.
In 2006, after Mr. Beren lost his wife to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), he devoted his time, energy, and lobbying skills to fighting the disease.
His efforts led to the establishment of one of the first registries of IPF patients in the nation. Called the Daniel and Joan Beren PA-IPF Registry, it provides advocacy and support for pulmonary patients and a source of data for use by researchers.
Mr. Beren also served on the board of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, a national organization that funds IPF research.
Besides his daughter, he is survived by a son, Day; another daughter, Jane; six grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; a brother, and many nieces and nephews.
A 10 a.m. visitation at the Pine Street Presbyterian Church, 310 N. Third St., Harrisburg, on Monday, Dec. 22, will be followed by a memorial service at 11 a.m. Burial is private.
Contributions may be made to the Joan Cranmer Beren Memorial Fund, Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, 230 E. Ohio St., Suite 304, Chicago, Ill. 60611.