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Anthony “Tony” Bucco, a New Jersey political patriarch known for his old school gentleman’s demeanor, accessibility, party loyalty, work ethic, and esprit de corps, has died.
Michael DuHaime, spokesman for the Bucco family, released the following statement this evening:
“It is with great sadness I share that Senator Tony Bucco suffered a major heart attack this morning at his home. He passed peacefully this evening with his family by his side at Saint Clare’s Hospital in Denville. The family kindly asks for privacy at this time.”
Tony Bucco served New Jersey as the Republican mayor of Boonton, a Morris County Freeholder, a state assemblyman and a state senator.
InsiderNJ.com confirmed the news with the Morris County Sheriff’s Office and St. Claire’s Hospital.
Please read Morris County-based reporter Fred Snowflack’s tribute to the late senator here.
The towering figure in Morris County politics, the senator from Boonton, 81, started out as an alderman in his hometown in the late 1970’s, and served on the Morris County Freeholder Board from 1989 to 1992. He served in the General Assembly and won his senate seat in 1997 when he defeated incumbent Democrat Gordon MacInnes.
The senator’s son, Assemblyman Tony Bucco, Jr. (R-25) followed his father into politics.
“I am unbelievably saddened by the passing of my good friend Tony Bucco,” said Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R-21). “He was a leading voice in Morris County politics for more than 40 years and in Trenton for more than two decades. He was a gentleman who earned trust on both sides of the aisle by being a man of his word. Most importantly, he was a devoted husband, loving father, and proud grandfather. On behalf of the entire Senate Republican caucus, I extend our condolences to all who knew and loved Tony Bucco. He was a great man and a great friend who will be sorely missed.”
The Morris senator was diagnosed earlier this year with treatable throat cancer. As recently as two weeks ago, he told colleagues he was feeling better.
“He was not only a great individual but a great representative,” said Senator Kip Bateman (R-16). “He will certainly be missed. My prayers go out to his family.”
Bateman acknowledged Senator Bucco’s experience as a businessman who owned and ran his own production plant – Titan Adhesive – in Paterson.
“He was such a great representative in part because he brought a businessman’s perspective to Trenton,” added the Somerset senator, caucus colleague of Senator Bucco. “He knew first hand the difficulty small businesses go through.”
Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-21) posted this on his Facebook page: “Tonight I am very sad to learn of the passing of Senator Tony Bucco. My thoughts are with the Bucco family. Senator Bucco was a leader in Trenton and a close friend to all of us involved in government (more here).”
Senator Richard Codey (D-27),a longtime cross-the-aisle colleague of the late senator, said of his friend, “I had the pleasure of serving in the Legislature with Senator Bucco for many years, and always respected his hard work on behalf of his constituents. We worked together for the better of the state during his time as majority leader, and in later years representing Morris County. May God be with his family, friends and staff at this difficult time.”
Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37) offered the following:
“As has been said, he was a true gentleman. He never failed to bring the perspective of a small business owner to any policy discussion we had in the state Senate, and his insight was always valuable. Senator Bucco served the people of New Jersey for more than four decades and left a proud legacy fir his family as well as for our entire state. He will be missed but we celebrate his service.”
NJGOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt released the following statement regarding the passing of Senator Anthony Bucco:
“So sorry to hear of his death. Was always available for comment and information. Didn’t always agree, but we got a long. A hard working man.”