The Pocono Mountains is mourning a champion of the community, Bob Uguccioni, who passed away Saturday at 87 years old.

A fixture for more than 50 years, it's hard to imagine the Poconos would be where they are today without Uguccioni, known as "Mr. Pocono."

He served as the Executive Director of the Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau from 1967 to 2007.

"He really put the Pocono Mountains and the Poconos on the map in a very, very large way," said Chris Barrett, the current executive director of the organization.

Under his watch, the region grew into a billion-dollar tourism economy with a budget in the millions of dollars. His tenure saw the region become the honeymoon capital of the world, as well as the development of Mount Airy Casino Resort and Great Wolf Lodge. Uguccioni also spearheaded the hotel room tax that now funds the region's marketing.

"I took my strength from the owners, from the people, from the families that were here," Uguccioni said in an interview in 2019. "Because once they accepted the premise that what's good for the Pocono Mountains is good for them, and their businesses, and their families, it was an easy job."      

"When he took over the visitors bureau here in the Pocono Mountains the budget was around $100,000 to market and present the destinations, when he left it was in the area of $8 million," Barrett said.

Barrett says Bob's greatest gift was his ability to bring people together, working with the organization well after his retirement.

"He was incredibly intelligent, he was good at reading people, he knew people. He was very smart at understanding what the consumer wanted," Barrett said. "You don't see those kind of folks anymore in the industry, and it's definitely the end of an era."

He is survived by his three children, as well as grandchildren, and countless friends.

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