Death of Martin Nelis, son of ex-MLA, in US 'a huge tear in community fabric'
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."
Last night, I got home to the worst news imaginable. My Uncle, Martin Nelis, was killed in a bike incident in California yesterday. Of course, the clan means a lot to me and to us and right now the Nelis/MacNiallais Clan is heartbroken. No matter which god/gods you pray to, pic.twitter.com/P3dALShKy7— Colm MacNiallais 🇮🇪🏴🇵🇸 (@colmmacn) August 3, 2018
Tonight , as part of Sunset By The Lake Concert Series,The Big Jangle will perform in front of Pleasant Hill City Hall. Also a Celebration of Life for Martin Nelis. Expecting Large Crowd from 6pm-8pm. 🎸🎶😎 pic.twitter.com/SjPXRhvRvW— Kevin Kennedy (@kennedy_kevin) August 5, 2018
Flowers 💐 lay along the road where Martin Nelis was hit and killed while riding his bike 🚲 in Lafayette. 💔Neighbors say the winding road x increased development in the area are a recipe for tragedy. 5/6pm 📺 pic.twitter.com/eEMvX69yy4— Dion Lim (@DionLimTV) August 3, 2018
Martin Nelis was loved by many & will be missed deeply by all who knew him— MEP Martina Anderson (@M_AndersonSF) August 4, 2018
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 pic.twitter.com/ciXZc5KcnJ
Belfast Telegraph Digital