I wish there was some dirt or a deep, dark secret about Mark Maley that I could pass along. Something about how his Diet Coke addiction drove him to commit some terrible crime. However, as you can see from the numerous posts about Mark on Facebook in recent days, he was well-liked by nearly everyone and had good reasons to be liked.

Mark was a longtime journalist and editor with Journal Communications, most notably the CNI and NOW newspapers, and then a regional editor for Patch.com (check out their obituary for Mark). After journalism, Mark did two stints for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), briefly interrupted by a period as the managing editor of The Elkhart Truth.

I didn’t have the pleasure of working for Mark. I got to know him when he was with Patch.com while I was writing a local column for the Waukesha Freeman. Mark would let me know when Patch was sponsoring events and he told me he loved it when I would show up for local candidate debates. My running Twitter commentary was far more entertaining than anything the candidates said, he told me once.

For my part, I always enjoyed talking with Mark because he always had interesting and well-measured insights about local government. I always thought he was a smart person with a good sense of humor who was always willing to help out when he could. He was also just a nice person, which is too rare in the political world.

Mark passed away this morning from esophageal cancer. The news a few weeks ago that he had terminal cancer and a short time to live hit his many friends and colleagues hard. His death is a loss to the entire community, but it’s an even greater loss to his family. Our sincere condolences to his wife Debbie, and his children Erica and Kobi. Our thoughts and prayers are with them on this terrible day.