RIP Uncle Paul

Councilman Paul MacDonald, 69, lost his battle to cancer on Wednesday evening around 6 p.m.

Councilman Paul MacDonald

Councilman Paul MacDonald

MacDonald was elected as Belleville‘s Third Ward councilman in 2008, and was diagnosed with cancer six months later, Mayor Ray Kimble said.

MacDonald would have celebrated his 70th birthday Jan. 24, Kimble said.

His family held a large 70th birthday party for him a year earlier though, “because the prognosis wasn’t good for him,” the mayor explained.

“He was coming to council meetings when he probably shouldn’t have come to meetings. He was very eager to serve the people of Belleville and enjoyed his short time as a councilman,” said Kimble. “Paul was really proud to be a councilman; he took it very serious. He will be missed very much.”

MacDonald also served as president of Belleville‘s Irish American Association and was a proud member of numerous Irish cultural associations beyond Belleville, for which he received numerous awards, Kimble said. He also served as a member of Belleville’s Knights of Columbus.

Fellow councilman Steve Rovell lauded MacDonald’s dedication to the people of Belleville.

“He hid his illness really well. He was a trooper; he just kept going,” said Rovell. “His service was really commendable. Service was something he really loved. He had a passion for the town.”

The late councilman leaves behind three daughters and several grandchildren.

“He just loved them. Loved them dearly. It was unbelievable,” Rovell said, citing how it was a “good thing” that MacDonald passed away at home, surrounded by family.

In the middle of the Belleville Library Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday, trustees’ cell phones went off repeatedly, each message bearing the news of MacDonald’s passing.

Peter Zangari said he received 18 text messages about MacDonald over the course of the one-hour meeting.

“He was such a great guy,” Zangari said as he scrolled through the messages on his telephone’s screen.

Dr. James Cozzarelli, Jr. subsequently suggested interrupting the trustees’ meeting for a moment of silence, to which newly elected board president Richard Yanuzzi agreed.

Both the mayor and Rovell said they are not sure where MacDonald’s death leaves the council, legally speaking. They have to iron out the details of when and how a replacement is elected with assistance of the township attorney.

“This just isn’t something you ever consider,” Rovell said.

Categories: Life

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