Belfast Telegraph

Death of Martin Nelis, son of ex-MLA, in US 'a huge tear in community fabric'

By Jonathan Bell

Tributes have been paid to the son of a former MLA who was killed after he was hit by a truck while cycling in the US.

Mayor of the City of Pleasant Hill in California described the death of 54-year-old Martin Nelis as a "huge loss" to the city.

He was killed last Thursday in a reported hit-and-run. He had been out for a lunch time cycle with a friend.

Monday's Irish News reported the father of three was the son of former Sinn Fein MLA Mary Nelis and brother-in-law of MLA Declan Kearney.

Originally from Derry, Mr Nelis was a public information officer for city of Pleasant Hill in California since 2007.

"Martin was often the first to volunteer for any civic event or meeting, and the last to leave and turn off the lights," a statement from the city said.

Mayor Tim Flaherty described him as the "quintessential dedicated public servant and a wonderful member of the community".

“There’s been a huge tear in the community fabric. He became so involved in virtually every public aspect, like community events.

“Martin was incredibly bright and witty and a true Irishman.”

He added: "This is a wonderful place to work, to play, to live, and a lot of that, most of it, is because of Martin’s hard work. He was essentially behind the scenes but involved in every public event, from community service day to parades to all the things we’ve done with the library we’re promoting.

"We’re all kind of absorbing what this means to everything he was involved in for the city."

City Manager June Catalano added: "Everybody is devastated.

"He was the most-dedicated staff member that you can imagine. He was warm and clever and just did everything.”

Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson, in a tweet, added: "Martin Nelis was loved by many & will be missed deeply by all who knew him. His mother Mary & siblings are heart broaden at his death in California as are his three children.

"The Republican Family especially in Derry offer our deepest sympathy and support to you all."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph