Zoning Commission member Charles Bradford, 60, died Monday night at New Milford Hospital after being stricken at a New Milford Republican Town Committee meeting.

"We were just about to close the meeting when Charley passed out on the floor," said Theresa Volinski, an GOP committee member. "I called for someone to call 911. We understand he died of a massive heart attack."

Mr. Bradford served as a zoner with Mrs. Volinski's husband, James.

The couple accompanied Bradford's family to the hospital Monday night.

"Jim and I first met Chap six or seven years ago through the Candlewood Corvette Club," said Mrs. Volinski, using Mr. Bradford's nickname. "He knew we were active in the RTC and that's how he got involved with it a couple of years back."

"He was a great guy," she added. "He would bend over backwards for you."

Mr. Bradford, a father of eight, was serving his first term on the Zoning Commission. He had been elected in November to fill a Republican vacancy.

"I was stunned," commission vice chairman Bill Taylor said Tuesday. "I just heard. Charley was a valuable member of the commission. Each member brings different insights, and Charley always added to the discussion. Projects in town were better for his input."

Mayor Pat Muphy was saddened by Bradford's death.

"He was a level-headed, easy-going, nice family man," the mayor said. "He'll really be missed. He wasn't the loudest voice in the room but he had intelligent, measured comments that added to discussions."

Mr. Bradford's family declined comment Tuesday.

Mr. Bradford had described himself in a candidate profile last October as being a construction superintendent and operating engineer. He wrote that his interest in serving on the Zoning Commission centered on "preserving agricultural soil... (and) supporting business development."

Mr. Bradford had served as an alternative on the town's Farmland Preservation Committee since 2008 and as an alternate on the Zoning Board of Appeals from March 2009 until his election to the Zoning Commission.

He became a member of the RTC in 2007.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia, and their children.