Raymond Kimble, who served twelve years as the mayor of Belleville before losing re-election last year, has died. He was 80.
Mayor Michael Melham, who defeated Kimble by 97 votes in the May 2018 municipal election, announced his death today.
Kimble, a former police office and township manager, was elected mayor in 2006 and re-elected twice. He defeated Councilwoman Marie Strumolo Burke by 417 votes in a 2014 race marked by allegations that Burke used a racial slur in a voicemail message.
In 2013, Kimble was part of a group of Essex Democratic mayors who endorsed Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s re-election campaign.
“Ray devoted his life to trying to make his hometown a better place. He served in the Belleville Police Department for over 30 years, including five as police chief, and went on to become township manager and mayor of Belleville. No matter the role, he always found a way to help as many people as he could,” said Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-Nutley). “I had the pleasure of working with Ray as an Essex County Freeholder and Assemblyman, and we always maintained a productive and enjoyable relationship. His inspiring work in and dedication to Belleville won’t soon be forgotten.”
Updated at 12:30 PM on July 23 with comment by Caputo.