Former Belleville Mayor Raymond Kimble, out of office just a little over a year, died Monday, July 22, 2019, the township’s current Mayor Michael Melham said in a statement.
He was 80.
“It is with deep regret and sadness that I report former Mayor Raymond Kimble passed away this morning,” Melham, who beat Kimble in as close a race as there could have been in a 2018 election, wrote. “Mayor Kimble served our township with distinction for many years in various capacities. From police officer, he rose through our ranks to become Police Chief. After retirement from the department, he went on to serve as public safety director and township manager. He would then serve three terms as mayor.
“As a young councilman, I worked closely with Mayor Kimble when he was public safety director and township manager.
“I have asked Township Manager (Anthony) Iacono to place all municipal flags at half-staff and have mourning bunting draped across Town Hall. I ask that you respect the privacy of the Kimble family at this time. We extend our deepest condolences to the Kimble family. The township will provide additional details as they become available.”
State Sen. Ronald L. Rice praised that life of Kimble in a statement.
“Raymond was a dear friend of mine. Our common bond was that we both dedicated our lives to public service. We served in the armed forces, devoted our lives to the public safety of others and sought public office to help people in our communities.
“He was a friend to all and was respected by friend and foe, regardless of political affiliation. He was always willing to reach out to others when they needed it most. Whenever I was in need, Raymond was there for me.
“Essex County lost a great leader and an even better person. He will be missed by all.”
Kimble lived in Belleville his entire life and was devoted to serving his home town.
He was an alumnus of Belleville High School’s Class of 1957. He went on to serve in the U.S. Army for two years and upon completion of that service, would earn a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from William Paterson University (then College.)
In 1964, he joined the Belleville Police Department and ascended to the rank of chief, a position he held from 1992 to 1997.
In 1997, upon retirement from the Belleville PD, he was appointed the Belleville township manager.
He ultimately ran for and became Belleville’s mayor, a position he held for 12 years (three terms) until he lost a very close election just a year ago.
Among many awards, Kimble was most proud of the Silver PBA Card he received — and when he was the Belleville Chapter of UNICO’s Man of the Year.
Kimble is survived by his wife of 57 years, Marie; children Raymond, Steven, Linda, and Lisa; grandchildren Angelo, Raymond, Lucia, Hannah and Steven Kimble, and Sonny Conley, John, Frank and Maria Gabriele.
Viewing is Wednesday, July 24, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Megaro Memorial Home, Belleville. Mass will be celebrated Thursday, July 25, at 11 a.m. at St. Peter’s Church, Belleville. Entombment will be in Glendale Cemetery, Bloomfield.
Be sure to see the July 31 edition of The Observer for more on late mayor.
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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.