My FB feed lit up late this evening with condolences for the family of State Senator Ken Donnelly (D-4MI) after battling a brain tumor. The following is from his own FB page:
It is with enormous sadness that we must report that State Senator Ken Donnelly (D-Arlington) has passed away today surrounded by family.
At the time of his passing, Senator Donnelly was 66. The cause of death was a brain tumor he gallantly battled for 8 months.
Senator Donnelly represented the 4th Middlesex district including Arlington, Burlington, Billerica, Woburn and Lexington, precincts 1, 2, and 4 thru 7.
Prior to serving in the Massachusetts Senate, Senator Donnelly was a firefighter for 37 years in the Town of Lexington, and legislative agent and the secretary treasurer of the Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts.
Ken was known to all who knew him first and foremost for his devotion to his family and as a fighter for those without a voice. Throughout his career, he fought to save others, protect the most vulnerable in our society, and give voice to working men and women across the Commonwealth. He was a staunch believer in the role of unions and government to protect workers, and he was well known for his efforts to advance justice and equality for all people no matter their race, religion, national origin, or sexual identification.
As such, he treated all with whom he met with dignity and respect, and over the many years he worked as both a union negotiator and state legislator, he earned back in return the respect and admiration of both his allies and his adversaries.
Senator Donnelly championed many causes during his career, from increasing access and quality to mental health services for all; to funding for workforce training for the unemployed and underemployed; to more protections for homeless families and retirees on fixed incomes; to women’s’ access to healthcare; and to the creation of a criminal justice system that was fair for all.
Through all these diverse efforts, Senator Donnelly never sought the accumulation of personal credit; but rather he was dedicated to the causes he believed in and the people he represented, and he brought his tremendous energy, courage, and passion to changing many lives for the better.
Senator Donnelly’s number one priority was his family. He leaves behind his loving wife of 43 years, Judy; his beloved children Ryan, Keith, and Brenna and his 5 grandchildren; and a large extended family and group of friends who loved and admired him.
Details on his wake and funeral arrangements will be announced when they become available.