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The United Way of Southern Chautauqua County Tuesday began its 1999 General Campaign by dedicating it to the man who was to serve as its co-chairman.

Robert Eaglesome, 59, had died that morning following a lengthy illness. The death left volunteers shocked but no less resolute in achieving the $1.5 million goal Eaglesome had set, which is 12 percent more than last year.

United Way Executive Director Michael Moots said the agency would pay a more formal tribute at a later date. But he took time to reflect on Eaglesome's commitment.

"So, I hope each one of us, and everyone who works on the campaign, and every person who's asked to donate will think about Bob," he said. "If that commitment could be translated into action, then we'll have no problem making our goal this year."

Even though Eaglesome had been in ill health, Moots said he still insisted on working on the campaign. He said it was part of Eaglesome's makeup.

"Bob was a person of great integrity, which is the number one quality that we look for in volunteers and board members," Moots said. "And he was a man of great commitment, not only to the United Way but the entire community."

Campaign Co-Chairman Robert Ostrom feels with the effort currently under way, Eaglesome's vision is attainable.

"You know, when I look across this room, I see an awful lot of people, who, through the years and their association with the community and with the United Way in particular, have shown so much commitment," he said. "And I'm sure that if collectively we show as much commitment in this campaign as Bob would have shown, then we'll have a success. Not only will we have a success in terms of achieving our goal, but we would have realized Bob Eaglesome's goal."

The volunteers got a boost from a report that the Pacesetter Campaign has raised $184,600 to date, 12.3 percent more than last year at this time. Chairman Kevin Brombacher said that shows a similar goal for the general campaign is not out of reach.

"It can be done," said Brombacher. "I mean, the message that should be out there is this is a campaign that's aggressive. If the Pacesetters did it, the whole general campaign should be able to do it."

United Way officials said 22.6 percent of the $1.5 million goal has been raised to date, or about $340,000. That figure includes fund-raising sources outside the Pacesetter Campaign.

Eaglesome was director of personnel for the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare in Washington, D.C., under Joseph Califano. He also worked for Casper Weinberger and Elliott Richardson between 1970 and 1983. He and his wife, Sheila, who is from Jamestown, moved here in 1983, and opened their business, Kwik Copy Printing.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by two daughters, Melissa and Michelle.

A Masonic Lodge service will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Lind Funeral Home in Jamestown. The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Friday in St. Luke's Episcopal Church.

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