Bishop Hugh. L Lamb, First Bishop of Greensburg (1952-59)
Bishop Hugh L. Lamb was installed as the first bishop of the Diocese of Greensburg on Jan. 16, 1952. He steadily steered the diocese through the growth of its infancy.
Bishop Lamb brought a vision for schools, hospitals and institutions to care for the elderly. Under his direction, nearly $9 million was spent on construction or additions to existing facilities. Eight new schools were created, including, Greensburg Central Catholic High School, which was dedicated November 29, 1959. He also established 10 new parishes.
Bishop Lamb was instrumental in the founding of the former Jeannette District Memorial Hospital (now Westmoreland Hospital at Jeannette), which opened in 1959. To get construction under way, he gave a $300,000 gift and later supplied additional loans to make the hospital a reality. He then secured the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill to staff the facility.
The November 1959 dedication at Greensburg Central Catholic High School was his final public appearance. On Dec. 4, the bishop was admitted to the Jeannette hospital. Four days later, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, he died at the age of 69 after suffering a heart attack.
Bishop Lamb was born in Modena, Pa., Oct. 6, 1890. He graduated from Coatesville High School in 1907 and enrolled in St. Charles Seminary, Overbrook. He also attended the North American College, Rome, and graduated from Propaganda University, Rome, in 1915, with a doctorate in sacred theology.
Bishop Lamb was ordained May 29, 1915 in St. John Lateran Basilica, Rome. His early assignments included parishes in Philadelphia and Coatesville and he served a professorship at St. Charles Seminary through 1921.
From then until 1923, he was secretary to the late Cardinal Dennis Dougherty, archbishop of Philadelphia, and superintendent of schools in the archdiocese until 1926.
He was named a domestic prelate of honor with title of monsignor in 1927 and served as chancellor until 1936. In 1929, the bishop was named a prothonotary apostolic. He was ordained an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia March 19, 1936. He served as vicar general until 1951 when Pope Pius XII appointed him bishop for the newly erected Diocese of Greensburg.
The unexpected death of Cardinal Dougherty on May 31, 1951, delayed Bishop Lamb’s arrival in Greensburg. Thus, he then remained in Philadelphia as administrator of the archdiocese until the cardinal’s successor was named.