Montgomery County officials were shocked to learn Monday of the death of county Board of Supervisors Chairman Shayne T. Walters, 49, who died of complications from his treatment for colon cancer.
"I just saw him and he was doing so well," said Amsterdam 2nd Ward Supervisor Jeff Stark, who said he considered Walters a good friend and mentor.
"He always tried to do what's right for the county," Stark said.
Amsterdam 1st Ward Supervisor Vito Greco said he was devastated when he heard of Walters' death.
"He was determined. He had a will to live," Greco said.
Walters, who was the Charleston supervisor, died Monday morning after a nine-month fight with cancer.
His mother, Jean Walters, who is the Charleston town justice, said her son's radiation and chemotherapy treatments had appeared to be effective, despite the spread of the cancer.
She said the prognosis from doctors was optimistic during the treatments, but last month, her son took a turn for the worse.
Shayne Walters lost his energy and was unable to effectively respond to chemotherapy. His weakened immune system led to an infection in his stomach, his mother said.
He was taken to Cooperstown Medical Center on Sunday and was surrounded by friends and family when he died Monday morning, his mother said.
"No one expected him to die," Jean Walters said.
Diane Ferguson, Charleston town clerk, said the deputy supervisor, who is Robert Sullivan, will be appointed to fill the town supervisor's position.
An election is unlikely to happen this year, she said, because it's too late to put new nominees on the ballots.
Greco said county Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman John Thayer, who is the Root town supervisor, will take over as acting chairman of the county board.
The county board will consult with County Attorney Doug Landon about the proper procedure for filling the chairman's post, Greco said.
Mohawk Supervisor Greg Rajkowski said tonight's county committee meetings would be postponed until a later date.
Walters was first elected as the Charleston supervisor in 2004.
In January, Walters was made the Board of Supervisors chairman after he was nominated by members of the Board of Supervisors. Soon after, he was diagnosed with colon cancer.
Stark said Walters will be remembered for all the work he did to repair the county after Hurricane Irene's damage last August.
"I don't think you're going to get another supervisor who stands up for the people like Shayne did," Rajkowski said.
Rajkowski said Walters worked hard to get state officials to come and see the damage caused by Hurricane Irene and to get as much assistance as he could to help repair the damage.
"He worked for the people," Rajkowski said.
No services for Walters were announced by press time today.