David O’Halloran, ranch owner, ex-county official, passes unexpectedly

Dave O’Halloran in 2012. (Photo by Phyllis McCabe)

The sudden death Tuesday, May 29, of David O’Halloran at age 56 has been met with shock and grief in the town where he was widely considered a leading citizen.

“This is a very, very sad day for the Town of Rochester,” said Town Supervisor Carl Chipman.

O’Halloran owned Pine Grove Ranch, one of the Town of Rochester’s leading employers. He was a six-year member of the Rondout Valley Central school board, twice elected. He was chairman of the town Republican committee and a former chairman of the Ulster County Industrial Development Agency.


“He was involved in everything,” Chipman said. “He was a very generous man. He’d give up his hotel for special events, like sports dinners, or Little League teams. He once gave a temporary home to a family that had been burned out. He treated his employees like family. Dave had his detractors, he was a little forceful, but a lot of people didn’t know about the other side of him.”

Rondout schools Superintendent Rosario Agostaro credited O’Halloran for steering the school district through difficult times as chairman of its budget committee. “He brought energy and the expertise to our district and a commitment to the highest standards. We have lost an incredible leader,” he said.

Chipman said it was his understanding that O’Halloran was at the helm of his yacht, the Bella Donna (named for his wife), with his family on Tuesday between Florida and the Bahamas when he suffered a sudden seizure.

“I think if David had had a choice, he would have wanted to be out on the water at the wheel of his boat,” Chipman said. O’Halloran was an avid deep-sea fisherman, once featured catching a near 200-pound Mako shark off Long Island on the reality TV show “Shark Hunters.”

O’Halloran was a 1979 graduate of Coleman Catholic High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Albany in 1983. He is survived by his wife Donna and their two daughters. Funeral arrangements are incomplete.

There are 3 comments

  1. Steven L Fornal

    David O’Halloran will definitely be missed. He was an intelligent man and a fair one. He often was a voice of reason. While we differed on issues at times, he never shut the door to another’s perspective and often allowed his own perspective to be impacted by that difference.

    He worked to help his community like few others. He was a good man, and an even better father and husband.

    We’ve lost a good one.

  2. Timmy and marion balos

    I am 55 years old,and went to pinegrove since it opened..my husband and I met Dave at the ranch as teenagers at the ranch..We were married and brought our children to Pinegrove at least once a year..Dave was always generous gracious and made us feel at home …tthe memories Dave and his family gave me personally and my family are endless and precious. ..our hearts bleed for his family…just not fair. .we will pray for all of you…thank for my memories Dave rest in peace…

  3. Daniel Capruso

    In college at SUNY Albany, more than 30 years ago, O’Halloran was known to myself and others as “Big Dave.” He was popular, athletic, outgoing, kind, and a natural leader with a great sense of humor. I enjoyed many good times with him. When someone had trouble, Dave was supportive, and he offered good advice. Very sad to see Big Dave pass so young. My condolences to the family.

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