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.