SOUTH DAYTON – Cattaraugus County Legislature Chairwoman Paula Stockman, R-South Dayton, died in her sleep Friday night, according to her husband.
Stockman became the second woman to be named Chairwoman of the Legislature since it was created in 1969.
Prior to being elected as Legislature Chairwoman, Stockman served as chairwoman of the Strategic Planning Committee.
Cattaraugus County Legislator Majority Leader Donna Vickerman said she was in shock when she first heard the news of her good friend’s passing.
“This is a huge loss for our county and for her family,” Vickerman said. “It was very sudden.”
Vickerman said she had no reason to think anything was wrong with Stockman.
“I had just seen her on Wednesday,” said Vickerman.”We just did our re-organization of the legislature and Paula was just voted the chair.”
Vickerman said once Stockman is laid to rest the Cattaraugus County Republican Party will hold a caucus to determine who will lead the governing body.
“I think everyone should realize that whatever Paula did, it was for the residents of the county,” said Vickerman. “It’s a loss, it really is.”
WNYNewsNow Multimedia Journalist Justin Gould contributed to this report.