Ulster County Legislator James Maloney passed away at age 61 on July 11 after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. Maloney, who was also the assessor in the Town of Ulster, was remembered by colleagues as dedicated and devoted to his work. He is survived by his wife, Brenda, and sister, Kathy Jerent.
Ulster Town Supervisor James Quigley III said this week that despite the rigors involved in fighting his illness, Maloney continued showing up for work as long as he could.
“I don’t think people appreciated the length to which he went to fulfill his commitments to the community during his illness,” Quigley said. “During the course of his chemo treatment, which he scheduled on Fridays so he could get to work on Monday, he received IV therapy treatments Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons after his chemotherapy to bolster his body.”
Quigley cited two specific examples of Maloney’s dedication to the community, the first an annual undertaking in his role in the assessor’s office.
“He went above and beyond for grievance day [May 21], when he had to sit at the Town offices for eight hours in the afternoon and evening and listen to citizens come in and grieve their taxes to the Board of Assessment Review,” Quigley said. “He had his wife take him down to the hospital that morning to get an extra IV treatment to get him through the day.”
The other instance referred to by Quigley would be Maloney’s last appearance at a meeting of the Ulster County Legislature, which he attended on Tuesday, June 18, to vote in favor of funding a county fire training center in the Town of Ulster, which will cost an estimated $6.235 million. The funding was approved unanimously.
“During his treatment, he had missed a series of meetings at the legislature,” said Quigley. “The morning of the scheduled meeting date, Brenda took him to the hospital, and these were not easy treatments, they were three and four hour treatments where he would get hooked up to an IV, and he would get platelets and vitamins and fluids, and they would try to restore the balance in his body. And he had one of those treatments in the morning before the meeting of the legislative session. When it came tine for him to vote, he stood up and he talked about his personal experience with [fellow legislators] Manna Jo Green and Herb Litts, when they went to a burn exercise.”
During the meeting, Maloney described the training process, in which the legislators and others saw fire roll across the ceiling.
“It was an amazing experience to be in a hot box with, say, 15 other people,” Maloney said. “What they do for the public, there is no price for it … I am a wholehearted yes.”
That meeting, which included a handful of public speakers who favored the funding for the fire center and numerous legislators explaining why they were voting yes, can be seen at: https://livestream.com/accounts/1512750/events/1824203/videos/192738764
“At the end of that meeting — it has happened, not frequently and not regularly — Jimmy received a standing ovation from his peers on both sides of the aisle for what he had to go through to show up that night,” said Quigley. “They didn’t know it, but they just saw how ragged he was, they saw how tired he was, they saw how slow he moved. They appreciated that he showed up. And had they known what he went through to get there, they probably would have given him a second standing ovation.”
Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan last week released a statement saying that Maloney “committed himself to enhancing the communities that he grew up in and that he loved.”
“I am saddened by the passing of Legislator James Maloney,” said Ryan. “Legislator Maloney dedicated his life to public service. As an elected official and as an employee of the Town of Ulster and Town of Kingston, he committed himself to enhancing the communities that he grew up in and that he loved. I send my deepest condolences to his wife Brenda and the rest of his family.”
Maloney, a Republican, first won election to the Ulster County Legislature in 2003, serving a two-year term before losing at the polls in his bid to retain his seat representing District 4. He won his re-election battle in 2007, and never lost again. He planned on running again in November for another term, where he was set to face off against Democrat Brian Cahill.
“It is my deepest desire to continue my career as a public servant to the people of Ulster County,” said Maloney in a statement sent to the Kingston Times on Tuesday, May 14. “My first priority is, and has been throughout my tenure in the Ulster County Legislature, a focus on economic development. Ulster County is a special place which requires unique approaches to creating smart and responsible development opportunities … We need to work together to provide employment opportunities that will keep our youth right here in Ulster County and continue to capitalize on the growing tourism industry.”
Maloney was also up for reappointment as assessor in the Town of Ulster at the end of September, but councilmen last month voted to appoint him to another six-year term, effective October 1.
Maloney was a one-time vice-chairman of the Legislature, and also served as chairman of the Economic Development, Development Tourism, Housing, Transit and Planning committees.
Following a funeral procession from the Joseph V. Leahy Funeral Home on Monday morning, a Mass of Christian Burial took place at St. Joseph’s Church, with final prayers offered at the Wiltwyck Community Mausoleum. Quigley delivered the eulogy.
“It was quite an honor, because I had known him for 45 of his almost 62 years,” he said. “And although we had our problems, we always made up.”
Quigley noted that the homily at St. Joseph’s referenced John 14:2, which includes the passage, “In my Father’s house are many mansions… ”
“I closed my eulogy by referencing the homily and saying that I don’t think they know what they’re in for up there,” Quigley said. “Because they’ve got the best assessor coming.”