January 4, 2014 11:22PM
By Dan Brechlin
MERIDEN — In 1974, Gregory S. Maloney was sworn in as an alderman to the city’s Court of Common Council, becoming at 21 the youngest to ever serve. Maloney had been following in the footsteps of at least one relative, grandfather Francis T. Maloney, a former city mayor and U.S. Senator.
“One day we were all sitting out on the front porch of the old homestead,” explained his sister, Susan Maloney. “We were complaining about government and our mother came out and told us to get together go do something about it.”
Gregory Maloney and a few friends banded together and formed the Independent Democratic Party of Meriden, which eventually led tohis eight-year term on the council. Later on, he would be well-known for his business on West Main Street, Maloney’s Pub, which was founded in 1995.
Gregory S. Maloney died last week at the age of 61. His son, Gregory Maloney Jr., said the cause is yet to be determined.
“Everybody liked him,” said Maloney Jr., who worked with his father at the pub. “He went out of his way to help everybody. He was a great father to me and we had a good relationship.”
Shortly after the formation of the new party, Gregory S. Maloney was endorsed by the Democratic Party to fill a vacancy left by William McArthur, who resigned. Maloney became known for being outspoken and for publicly criticizing people when he felt they were in the wrong. He was a top vote-getter for his party, however, and went on to become majority leader in his last two years on the council.
Former councilor Thomas Bartis, who served in the late 1970s, recalled meeting Maloney when Maloney was attending Platt High School. Bartis had been a substitute teacher, but the two eventually met in the political realm and served on the council together as fellow Democrats.
“He was always a gentleman and was brought up well,” Bartis said. “He always voted what he felt was right for the taxpayers ... There’s really nothing I can say bad about Greg.”
Maloney briefly considered a run for the 83rd Assembly District, but bowed out and made a run for a third term on the council. Maloney was defeated in a four-person race, however, ending his council stint. Two councilors received more votes in Area 1, including Anthony Tomassetti, who recently chose not to run after more than 30 years of council experience.
“He was an excellent council member who did his homework,” Tomassetti said. “I remained friends with him.”
Maloney also became friends in more recent years with Republican Joshua Broekstra, who has had political aspirations of his own. Broekstra ran for the Area 2 seat in the last election, but was defeated by Democratic incumbent Larue Graham.
“We became very good friends about five or six years ago,” Broekstra said. “He supported my campaign. He was a humble, cheerful man with a good sense of humor. He was well-liked, and had a lot of stories about his heyday.
Gregory S. Maloney still liked to discuss politics, Susan Maloney said. She added that he always wanted to “do right by the taxpayers.”
“He was never a rubber stamp ... If he didn’t think something was right, he’d stand his ground,” she said. “He could shoot from the hip better than anybody I knew and he knew his stuff and didn’t say things just to please somebody. If he had something to say, he’d say it.”
Funeral services are yet to be announced, said Maloney Jr., but are expected to be early this week.
Record-Journal reporter Mary Ellen Godin contributed to this article.