Ulster County Legislator Jim Maloney, R-Town of Ulster, has died after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer.
Maloney, who also served as Town of Ulster assessor, died shortly before dawn on Thursday. He was 61.
“We’ve been friends since high school,” town supervisor Jim Quigley said of Maloney. “This is a very sad day for our town, Personally, I will miss his hearty laugh. He had it right up until the end.”
Maloney died at the Health Alliance Kingston Campus after 10 days hospitalization.
The ailing legislator was able to attend the June 18 meeting of the county legislator where he was given a standing ovation by colleagues. A stocky man, Maloney had lost more than 100 pounds during his illness and intensive chemotherapy treatment.
Two months ago, before Maloney was taken ill, the town board reappointed him to a six-year term to begin Jan. 1. He had been town assessor since 1997.
Quigley said he would have no comment on succession to Maloney’s $73,000 a year position, other than to note, “we need a well-qualified person in this critical position. State rules are very strict about that.”
Of more immediate attention will be Maloney’s seat on the 23-member county legislator, currently controlled 12-11 by Democrats. Brian Cahill, a former two-term legislator, is that party’s nominee for the November elections. Cahill, Assemblyman Kevin Cahill’s younger brother, had said when Maloney’s illness became known that he would not run on his opponent’s health issues. Praising Maloney as “a man who always put the best interests of his district first,” Cahill said he did not wish to discuss politics “at this terrible, terrible time for Jim’s family and friends.”
Maloney’s wife, the former Brenda Hoff, has also been mentioned as a possible Republican candidate to succeed her husband. The couple was married on New Year’s Day, 2000. “Jim said that way he’d always remember his anniversary,” Quigley said, his voice breaking.
According to county records, Dan Alfonso, R-Highland, has been the only other legislator to die in office in the 42-year history of the legislature. Alfonso, 73, died in February of 2003 after serving 14 years in the legislature, eight as chairman.
Maloney funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Joseph Leahy Funeral Home in Kingston.