(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) – A longtime Erie County political leader has passed away.

Ann Grunewald was the Erie County GOP chairman for 13 years and was later the vice chairman. Former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge shared his thoughts on the death of his longtime friend and colleague.

“Ann was a friend who was helpful in many ways during my political career, especially those early days. I’ll always be grateful for her counsel and friendship,” said Tom Ridge, former Pennsylvania Governor.

The chairman of the Erie County Republican Party said Ann served as a role model at a time when not many women were active in politics.

“I think when you get a woman like Ann, who was willing to go out there and take risks, I think it stands as a model for other women to say, ‘I can do that. It’s maybe something that I should do as well because it’s good for me, it’s good for my family and it’s good for the community,'” said Tom Eddy, Erie County GOP chairman.

Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.