Former Kingston Mayor John Heitzman, who died on Friday, is remembered as a loyal public servant – Daily Freeman
KINGSTON, NY – Flags on city buildings flew at half mast Monday in honor of John Heitzman, who served as mayor for a year in the early 1990s and died on FridayMay 6 at St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie.
Mayor Steve Noble described Heitzman, 94, a fellow Democrat, as a loyal public servant.
“Mayor Heitzman was committed to public and community service and was involved in dozens of organizations and causes during his long and full life here in the City of Kingston,” Noble said. “I would like to send my condolences to his entire family during this difficult time.”
Others, like former city councilman Thomas Hoffay, also a Democrat, said Heitzman was one of a kind.
“Above all, John was a gentleman, respectful of others and kind to everyone, but always upholding the values and principles he believed in,” said Hoffay, who served as Democratic president and worked on the mayoral campaign. by Heitzman. “His devotion to his wife Betty and their large family was legendary. He often left City Hall quickly in time for dinner at home a few blocks away, then returned to work to finish the next day.
Hoffay recalled one such example of commitment.
“He once came to City Hall well after midnight to have a long distance call with a company in South Korea regarding the operations of its Kingston branch,” Hoffay said. “He was often seen walking hand-in-hand with Betty up Broadway to St. Joseph’s Church. It was always family, work and faith with John and he would find time to accommodate all three of them.
Former Councilman Bill Reynolds, also a Democrat, said Heitzman was inspiring. Reynolds worked in Heitzman’s administration.
“John was one of the nicest men I have ever known and working for him in his administration was an absolute pleasure,” Reynolds said. “John was a family man who never let politics get in the way of the family, which I have always appreciated. He had a great love for Kingston and its people whom he served honestly and honorably. I feel lucky to to have known him.”
Heitzman was born on February 24, 1928 to Cornelius Heitzman and Henrietta Nock Heitzman.
He has always resided in Kingston. He retired from Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. in 1988 as a research and development administrator after 38 years in public service. He was a graduate of Kingston High School and Albany Business College. He served two years in the United States Navy as a radio operator.
While at Central Hudson, he was elected to Kingston City Council for three terms as Alderman for the 12th and 1st Wards. He served on the Ulster County Red Cross Board of Trustees and was active in the Kingston City Democratic Committee as Vice-Chairman and served two terms as Speaker of the House of Commerce of New Paltz. He was a founding member of the Ulster County Mike and Key Club, an amateur radio society. Heitzman was a member and past president of the Central Hudson Quarter Century Club and past president of the Coach House Players of Kingston.
From January 1994 to 2008, Heitzman served as Kingston’s Tourism Ombudsman. With his wife, he has volunteered at the Urban Cultural Parks Visitor Centre, Ulster Center for the Performing Arts and as board members of the Valley Aged Residence of the Hudson.