Hugh "Brian" McFarland of Holmdel, who ran for Township Committee in the November election, died Monday at his home at 11 Woodside Place after falling from a ladder and suffering head trauma.
Mayor Patrick Impreveduto confirmed his death. "He was a real respected member of our community. He's been active in a number of recreational programs as well as community programs. The township is losing a bright, creative individual who had some wonderful ideas on how to pursue township government," he said. The mayor offered his condolences to McFarland family.
He said he planned to say a word about McFarland at the annual Township Committee Reorganization meeting Tuesday night.
McFarland, 52, fell from a distance equal to about two stories onto his backyard porch, in an effort to string a warming cable to prevent ice build-up. His wife Karen made a call to 911 immediately after his fall, at 11:53 a.m. on Jan. 2.
Holmdel First Aid and MONOC medics rushed to the scene. After administering CPR, McFarland was transported by ambulance to Bayshore Community Hospital on North Beers Street, arriving at 12:19 p.m. A call for medical helicopter transport was called off.
According to Holmdel Police, McFarland was pronounced dead at Bayshore Community Hospital.
Woodside Place is a small street off Lois Place, which is accessible from South Beers Street. According to a neighbor it appeared every emergency vehicle in Holmdel turned out to the scene.
Committeeman Larry Fink, who considered McFarland to be a good friend, went to the hospital. "He was an extremely kind, considerate and giving person," said Fink. He pointed out that McFarland stepped up to represent Holmdel Democrats twice for Township Committee despite obligations he had to his family and employer. "He could easily have said I'm too busy, I'm too stressed to run again for Township Committee, but despite his personal issues he decided to run. That's just really the way he was," said Fink.
Former Township Committeewoman Janet Berk said, "This is a terrible shock, a terrible, terrible loss to the whole community. He was such a kind, considerate, compassionate man, who put his family first but was also devoted to so many good causes. I had the wonderful opportunity of getting to run [for Township Committee] with him and finding out what a great person he was. This is just devastating."
McFarland, with over 25 years of sales executive experience for top tier global investment firms and global giants like Microsoft and Sun Microsystems, worked as a sales executive for NetApp, Inc. Four months ago, he was recruited to work for EMC Corporation of Hopkinton, MA in the back-up recovery systems division. "He was the consummate professional technology salesperson," said his manager, Patrick Kenny. "Very methodical. Understood the technology. Very ethics-oriented. And a great teammate," he said.
He was passionate about coaching youth sports, environmental issues, and civic involvement. He coached HYAA baseball, basketball, and softball, and was Den Leader with Cub Scout Pack 131 from 2006-09. He served on the Executive Board of Citizens for Informed Land Use (CILU) and was an active supporter of Friends of Holmdel Open Space (FOHOS).
"He was very interested in the welfare of Holmdel Township and the community in general," said Tony Cooper, president of CILU. "His passing will be a significant loss to Holmdel and its residents."
Mike Sockol, who serves on the Board of Education, said, "I will always remember Brian for his graciousness, his good humor, and his commitment to the community. He sought to make a difference in Holmdel, and I will miss him as a colleague and a friend. My deepest sympathies go out to his wife Karen and their two children."
His belief in good government and pragmatic fiscal solutions prompted McFarland to twice seek a seat on Holmdel's Township Committee. In November, he ran with fellow Democrat Anish Kumar for two available seats, but lost to Republicans Patrick Impreveduto and Greg Buontempo. "Brian was a great mentor to me, and I'm devastated by his loss," said Kumar.
Said Township Committeeman Eric Hinds, "He was a true gentlemen. I have just recently gotten to know him but I cannot say anything but a good things..It is a tragedy."
He was a volunteer with the St. Baldrick's Foundation to Cure Pediatric Cancer, playing his part in helping to raise $12 million in 2009 by generating corporate and individual donations, and gamely shaving his head. He belonged to the Clean Ocean Action of NJ and the Sierra Club.
He is survived by his wife, Karen, and his two 13-year old twins, Brian and Caroline.
Funeral services will be handled by Shore Point Funeral Home on Route 35 in Hazlet. Visitation hours on Jan. 5 and 6 have been announced. See the obituary on Holmdel Patch for more details.