Seaside Heights officials and residents are mourning the loss of its long time former mayor.

Mayor P. Kenneth Hershey (Seaside Heights Borough website)

Mayor P. Kenneth Hershey passed away in his Carteret Avenue home in Ocean Terrace at around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, following a cardiac arrest, according to Police Chief Thomas Boyd. Boyd said the Triboro First Aid Squad arrived quickly and administered CPR but were unsuccessful.

Hershey served as mayor for 22 years after being first elected to the post in 1992 but was a borough councilman before that. Published reports estimates that Hershey served in politics for over 35 uninterrupted years.

Boyd calls Mayor Hershey a brilliant businessman who really cared about the town and cared about the visitors who came to the town. Boyd recalls that when Hershey swore him in as chief in 2003, he admonished him to take care of the visitors by making them feel safe and comfortable in the town.

"He knew as a businessman that you had to take care of the people. He knew that if you gave a person their dollar's worth they would come back."

Mayor Hershey was also the owner and operator of his family's motel, the Hershey Motel in Seaside Heights, which is still named after them, until he sold it ten years ago, according to Boyd.

He is survived by four children and grandchildren. Boyd said he was 84.