Richard Martel, Mayor of Mahwah since 1997, died at Valley Hospital early Monday morning "after a brief illness," according to Business Administrator Brian Campion.
"It is with great sadness that the Township of Mahwah acknowledges the passing of Mayor Richard J. Martel," Campion released in a statement.
Campion said the Mayor passed away peacefully, with his family by his side. Martel was married to Claudia Martel for over 45 years. He had three sons and three grandchildren.
The township says flags will be flown at half staff today in his honor.
Martel, originally from Lewiston, Maine, moved to Mahwah after being stationed in the township during his three-year service in the armed forces, according to Campion. A resident of the township for over 40 years, Martel became known throughout the community as an involved politician.
In addition to serving as mayor, Martel has served in the past as a member of the Recreation Committee, Zoning Board of Adjustment, Planning Board, Housing Commission, Board of Trustees, Mahwah Youth Sports Boosters, and as the Township Council's President.
Beyond Mahwah, Martel was elected in 2007 to be the President of the Northwest Bergen Mayors' Association, and was involved with the New Jersey Conference of Mayors, New Jersey League of Municipalities, and the Bergen League of Municipalities.
News broke on Patch last week that a week ago due to respiratory ailments.
According to Campion, funeral arrangements are being made by the Martel family, and will be released soon.
The Township Council now has 30 days to decide who will fill Martel's position.
Township government officials are expressing great sadness at the Mayor's passing. In a statement to Patch, Town Council President John DaPuzzo expressed his sympathy at this loss.
"Mahwah is missing a great man. He has shaped this town into what it is now. The town and I thank him for all of his service, and for always putting Mahwah above himself."