DES MOINES, Iowa — Many in Iowa are still reeling from the shock of longtime Polk County Treasurer Mary Maloney’s unexpected death on Friday.
Polk County Supervisor Tom Hockensmith said he spoke with Maloney the morning of the day she died. He saw Maloney every day in the elevator and they would tell each other what’s happening in their respective offices. But Hockensmith wasn’t able to have that conversation on Monday.
“We were still trying to absorb it today in our office,” said Hockensmith. “It’s just been shock and disbelief. It was so sudden.”
The circumstances of Maloney’s death have not been revealed.
Maloney had served as Polk County Treasurer since 1989 and was in her seventh term in office. Those who worked with Maloney over the years are remembering her dedication to serving Polk County residents.
“Mary is just a true public servant,” said Hockensmith. “She just was a really humble public servant. She wasn’t about getting out in front of things and being the focus of attention. She was just a good worker and a great person.”
Polk County Supervisor Angela Connolly said that Maloney had a passion for her job that she brought every day. Connolly said her death is a profound loss to the community.
Maloney graduated from Iowa State University in 1977 with an economics degree. When she started working for Polk County more than three decades ago, she brought with her a financial and computer background in business.
“She brought technological advances to the Polk County Treasurer’s Office that were copied by many other counties in the state of Iowa,” said Hockensmith.
Maloney was also popular among those she served in Polk County. According to Hockensmith, Maloney often received the most votes out of anyone in the countywide elections.
“That would be very difficult when you get a tax bill with her name on it every year. We’d always laugh about that with Mary. She was just a true Polk County person,” said Hockensmith.
Maloney was a staple of the local political scene. Hockensmith said there was rarely a political event she did not attend. Maloney became close with President Joe Biden from the many times he visited Iowa over the years.
“Anyone that is in Iowa politics knows Mary Maloney,” said Hockensmith. “But she wasn’t a partisan political person at all. She worked with everyone and it’s just such a huge loss.”
The Polk County Board of Supervisors will appoint someone to fill the Treasurer position. The board has 40 days to make an appointment, but Hockensmith said it won’t be easy.
“You can’t replace 32 years and seven terms of someone that went from a paper system to an automated system to everything they are doing right now that is really cutting edge. It’s difficult, very difficult,” Hockensmith said.