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Longtime Seminerio aide Maloney dies at 83

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Tom Maloney, the charismatic longtime aide for Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio (D-Richmond Hill) and unofficial mayor of Richmond Hill, died June 8.

He was 83 and had been suffering from stomach ailments, said Jack FitzGerald, Seminerio’s chief of staff.

Known for his impeccable dress and hair that was never out of place, Maloney served as Seminerio’s aide for 23 years, handling the assemblyman’s constituent affairs. He was universally loved in Richmond Hill, where he walked the streets, eagerly attended to complaints from residents and became famous for finding young people jobs.

For 50 years he gave his heart and soul to the Holy Child of Jesus Church on 86th Avenue, where more than 400 people flocked the morning of June 12 for his funeral. The mourners included local politicians, community leaders and nearly the entire student body of the Holy Child of Jesus School.

“He knew how to talk to people, was always pleasant and never would have an unkind word for anybody,” Seminerio said. “He knew a lot of people and would have made a perfect politician. He had the character, the charisma.”

Maloney was born in 1919. He was orphaned when he was 6 weeks old and grew up in the St. Agatha Home in Nanuet, N.Y.

He joined the U.S. Army Air Force in 1942 and served throughout World War II. Upon discharge, he found employment as a salesman, a job he kept until he joined Seminerio’s staff in 1979.

FitzGerald, who knew Maloney for more than 20 years, said what stood out about the aide was his service to the church and to the community, as well as his style.

“He wore a coat and tie seven days a week, warm, cold, anything. He always had shined shoes and his hair was never out of place,” he said, adding that Maloney always had a smile on his face. “He was the unelected mayor of Richmond Hill. He was loved by everybody.”

Seminerio said Maloney used to go around to neighborhood businesses each spring soliciting jobs for the young people of the area. As they grew up, he attended their weddings, FitzGerald said.

Maloney’s genuine regard for the people of his Richmond Hill helped sway area politicians.

“What was uppermost in his mind was the good of the community,” said state Sen. Serphin Maltese, who is planning to issue a legislative resolution in honor of Maloney. “He would call very frequently and was always polite, patient and very effective. He would get me to move. I and other public officials reacted to him very quickly.”

Maloney also built a strong relationship with the 102nd Precinct, using that bond to help resolve constituent complaints.

“If you ever had anything to get done, everyone in the community would go to him,” said Rudy Toolas Prashad, a precinct community affairs officer. “He used to take complaints from constituents and reach out to us instantly. He will be greatly missed. He was everybody’s friend.”

But perhaps his greatest love was the Holy Child of Jesus Church, where he attended morning mass just about every day for the last 50 years, served as an usher and established a youth basketball league.

“He especially loved the youth of our parish. He wanted to keep them on the straight and narrow,” said the Rev. Danny Murphy, who has been the church’s pastor for the last two years. “He spent endless hours being there for them. He really called them his children, even though they weren’t.”

Maloney was buried at the Maple Grove Cemetery in Kew Gardens. He is survived by his wife Ruth, daughter Eileen, son-in-law Joseph and granddaughter Michelle.

Reach reporter Daniel Massey by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 156.

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