Harrison Mayor Raymond McDonough, 65, has passed away after a massive heart attack suffered near his office in town hall around 2:30 p.m., Councilman Jesus Huaranga confirmed to Hudson County TV.
“The mayor was somebody who dedicated his life to the town: he never took a vacation,” Huaranga said over the phone. “After he retired, he would come to work at 6:30, 7 a.m., long before the town hall opened.”
“It was in his nature to help anybody – this was his whole life. He would take money out of his own pocket to help somebody.”
Huaranga said McDonough collapsed outside an elevator near his office in town hall at about 2:30 p.m. this afternoon, with paramedics promptly arriving and attempting to revive him. He also noted that McDonough’s brother was present at the time of his passing.
As far as the controversy over McDonough’s (a Democrat) endorsement of Republican Governor Chris Christie, Huaranga stuck up for the mayor, who served the town in that capacity since 1995. Prior to that, he served on the Town Council for 17 years.
“He endorsed (Christie) for the sake of the town – a decision we (the council) supported.”
Huaranga concluded the conversation by saying “We all really appreciated his service,” offering his sincerest condolences to McDonough and his family.
McDonough was married and did not have any children, Huaranga said.
Hudson County Assemblyman Raj Makherji (D-33), Vincent Prieto (D-32), the Assembly Speaker, as well as State Senator (D-32) Nicholas Sacco, all offered their condolences on Twitter.
“RIP Mayor Ray McDonough of @TownofHarrison – condolences to the family,” Makherji wrote.
“Ray McDonough was a great friend & strong advocate for the town of Harrison. He will be missed and I extend my deepest condolences,” Prieto tweeted minutes ago.
“I worked with Mayor McDonough closely as the Senator representing his town – one of the most dedicated public servants I have ever met,” Sacco posted on the social media site.
The Jersey Journal posted the initial story earlier this afternoon