SPRING VALLEY — Mark Actis Sr. of Spring Valley is being remembered for his outgoing, friendly personality and willingness to give a hand whenever and wherever it was needed.
Actis died on Sunday evening at St. Margaret's Hospital in Spring Valley. He was currently serving as Third Ward Alderman for the city of Spring Valley and was an active member of the Spring Valley Walleye Club.
Before Monday's city council meeting, Mayor Walt Marini called attention to the empty ward seat and announced the passing of the alderman. A rose marked his placed at the table.
"We had the honor of working with him over the past year," he said. "He served the ward and city of Spring Valley well."
Marini then asked for a moment of silence in honor of Actis, before calling the meeting to order.
On Tuesday, fellow alderman Jim Taliano spoke highly of his dear friend of more than 40 years.
"He was a man amongst men, a pillar of our community, and someone I was proud to call my friend," he said. "We spent a lot of time together … He was a man that did whatever he could for Spring Valley and someone you would like to follow in his footsteps."
Taliano said he was proud to serve with him on the council.
"I've lost a very good friend," he said.
Actis, along with close friend, Cliff Banks, was raising quail on a farm in Putnam County in an effort to re-establish a local quail population.
"We wanted to see the bird population grow in this area, so we decided to get together and raise them. Last year we released 375 birds in Putnam County," he said. "We are still raising them; he is no longer here with me, but I'll keep going in honor of him."
Banks, who knew Actis for more than a decade, called him his buddy and someone he hung out with everyday.
"He was very passionate about conservation and bettering this area," he explained. "He is going to be really, really missed. There's just not enough words to say how much he's really going to be missed. He was a big asset to our area."
Spring Valley Walleye Club Executive Director Bill Guerrini grew up in Spring Valley alongside Actis. While he admits he was older, the two shared a close friendship — one that grew tight through the walleye club.
"Our hearts go out to the family," he said. "He had been ill for awhile, but this was still an unexpected thing. It's really pulling at our heart strings."
The No. 1 thing Guerrini said he will miss about Actis is his friendship. He touched on their many fishing trips in the Canada wilderness with other close friend, Jim Smith of Princeton.
"(Actis) was the type of guy where everything he did had good intention, and he was a good man," he said. "He liked people and helped anywhere and anyway he could. He will truly be missed by everyone."
Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.