Orange Mourns the Loss of Former Councilman

Former Orange At-Large Councilman Donald Page has died.

Mr. Page defined himself as a local anti-establishment personage who bucked Mayor Mims Hackett and challenged Dick Codey in an unsuccessful 2001 Democratic Primary candidacy for state senate.

In 2008, after Hackett imploded on corruption charges, Mr. Page undertook a run for mayor.

In one of the more competitive and dynamic contests in recent Orange political history, Mr. Page narrowly lost his bid for mayor to Eldridge Hawkins, Jr.

Many people ran for citywide that year, including Councilwoman Tency Eason and educator Janice Morrell. In part sparked by the national campaign season (Hillary Clinton versus Barack Obama), and eager to supply the town with a burst of energy, they participated in numerous civic organization-sponsored debate forums throughout the Essex County town.

In the end, the contest came down to Hawkins versus Page, with the former defeating the latter’s upstart grassroots organization, in part on the strength of Hawkins’ senior citizen support in the public housing.

In what was perhaps the defining moment of his political career, Mr. Page ran a transparent, competitive, and wholly dignified and coherent campaign, presenting himself as the alternative to the machine that had backed Hackett. It wasn’t enough in the end against a younger, talented and well-connected rival in Hawkins, a police officer by trade and son of a former Assemblyman. But the campaign embodied a specific and enduring Orange vitality, best marked by Mr. Page – an impeccable dresser – insisting on rising to his feet while making his impassioned closing statement during a debate in the valley.

Mr. Page died after battling health issues for several years, a longtime friend and political ally of his told InsiderNJ. Mourned by family and friends, an inspiration to those in Essex County who craved a local upstart champion and valued his independent presence on the council, who put himself out there against the odds, he will be missed.

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8 responses to “Orange Mourns the Loss of Former Councilman”

  1. Many of us are deeply sadden and heart broken by the transition of our Beloved Forever Councilman Donald Page. Mr. Page was the most courageous, talented, caring and generous person of his error. His life amplified true Statesmanship. He was a loyal friend to anyone who was fortunate to call him friend. He lived life to the fullest and loved his community. The world was a better place because he lived in it.

  2. So sorry to learn of this. Donald was a great guy…soft spoken and sincere. He dedicated his life to Orange!

  3. So sorry to hear that one of my dearest friends has passed away 😢 I will forever hold him close to my heart ❤️ I love and will miss you always …. Rest in peace 🙏🏾

  4. Velvet Rogers, manager of Southern Comfort Cafe in Orange, New Jersey. Mr. Page would always stop by for a meal and conversation. Great man, Great leader, Great politics.

  5. Donald Page was a people’s leader he loved his community. I remember the Christmas parties he would have for the kids each year he was one of kind. A great loss for the community of Orange

  6. Donald and I worked together in Detroit as Identification Technicians in the 1960’s. My wife and I visited Donald and Donna in New Jersey. He is missed!!

  7. The role you played in society is a better place because of your shared values. May you have everlasting peace with the one that holds you know. Rest in Peace

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