Simotas former staff member passes away at the age of 27

By Bill Parry

Jim McFadden, who served as Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas’ director of communications for nearly two years, died May 20 at the age of 27. The first year student at George Washington University School of Law went into cardiac arrest May 1 after choking on food at dinner and was kept alive by life support for two weeks, according to his mother Lisa.

“I was shocked and saddened by Jim’s sudden passing,” Simotas (D-Astoria) said. “I recall our last lunch together, a celebration to mark the beginning of Jim’s studies at GW law school. He was excited to take his first step towards a legal career and eager to gain the knowledge that would help him shape public policy for the benefit of the undeserved and underrepresented. Jim firmly believed that we all have a duty to help others and, in both his personal and professional life, he lived by that belief. We can all learn from the example Jim set during his too-short life.”

McFadden studied government and the history of science at Harvard University, graduating in 2010. At George Washington, McFadden was a member of the International Law Society and the Korean American Law Students Association.

He is survived by his parents and a sister. A funeral was held May 18 in his hometown, Olmsted Falls, Ohio.

“Jim was a young man who was full of promise and a love for life,” Simotas said. “He had many fine qualities, but his dedication to his family, fierce loyalty to his friends, and his infectious personality were his most endearing traits and what I will remember him best for. I am so very grateful to have known Jim, and pray that he rests in peace. May his memory be eternal.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.