February 12, 2014 (Harrison, NJ) Harrison Mayor Raymond McDonough sustained a heart attack this afternoon and died. The Mayor who of late was in the news with respect to his early endorsement of Governor Chris Christie had conducted a meeting with Harrison elected officials this morning and had returned from lunch when he had a heart attack. He was pronounced dead at 2:30 p.m. this afternoon.
Mayor McDonough in his Office at Town Hall. Photograph courtesy of NJ.com
There were only a few employees in the Town Hall of Harrison as today is Lincoln's Birthday when McDonough became ill.
KOTW will provide additional details and funeral arrangements as soon as those are available. The flag in front of Town Hall was lowered by town employee James Geddis upon hearing of the Mayor's passing. Our condolensces to the McDonough family and the great Town of Harrison family.
Leave your rememberance of Mayor McDonough and express your condolences on our Discussion Board.
Here is the full text of the official statement released by the Town of Harrison this afternoon:
MAYOR RAYMOND J. McDONOUGH
It is with great sadness that the Harrison Town Council announces that Mayor Raymond J. McDonough died suddenly today at his office in Town Hall. Raymond had just started his 20th year as Mayor of Harrison, the Town that he loved and to which he dedicated his time and talents. Today, Harrison lost a native son, a tireless advocate, and a dear friend. Raymond’s door was always open, and he never passed up an opportunity to talk about Harrison and its residents.
No politician was more caring or generous than Raymond. He would give the shirt off of his back if someone was in need. Countless families had holiday meals, heat, and roofs over their heads because of Raymond’s generosity. He never said “no” to anybody.
Raymond began his political career in 1978, when he was sworn-in as councilman for the 2nd Ward. He continued to represent his 2nd Ward neighbors for 17 years, until he was elected as Mayor. A gifted athlete, Raymond proudly served as the Recreation Chairman for many years, and the youth of Harrison benefitted greatly.
Raymond not only followed in the political footsteps of his father, who was a Harrison Alderman and Hudson County Freeholder, he also followed him professionally, becoming a Master Plumber and later a Foreman for Plumbers Local 24.
As part of his plan to revitalize Harrison, Raymond was in the midst of a massive redevelopment effort designed to replace 250 acres of decaying and contaminated industrial land with residences, business and entertainment facilities, and office space. Under Raymond’s constant direction, the Town saw the rise of Red Bull Arena, the Hampton Inn, Panasonic’s RD center, the River-Park condos, Harrison Station, a 1,400 space parking garage, and many others. After many years of exhausting efforts, Raymond convinced the Port Authority of NY/NJ to re-build the Town’s antiquated and inaccessible PATH station.
Indicative of his devotion to Harrison’s senior residents, Raymond was the driving force behind the new affordable senior apartments being constructed on Harrison Avenue, using entirely grants and fees collected from redevelopers. According to Raymond, nothing was too good for “his” seniors.
As part of his efforts to help Harrison’s underprivileged, Raymond partnered with North Hudson Community Action Corp. to bring a state-of-the-art medical clinic to the Town, so that uninsured families can receive quality healthcare. Construction is scheduled to begin in March.
As devoted as Raymond was to Harrison and its residents, he was more devoted to his family. Raymond leaves behind his beloved wife of over 40 years, Connie, who has been a constant source of support to Raymond throughout his political career. For that, Connie deserves the thanks and admiration of Harrison’s residents. Raymond also left behind his twin brother, Thomas, sisters Maureen, Kathleen, and many in-laws, nieces and nephews.