Fountain Hills Vice Mayor Kathleen Connelly Nicola, who died in an unusual boating accident on Lake Powell this week, was remembered Friday as a passionate public servant who always listened to her constituents.
"Kathleen believed strongly in listening to her constituents and was steadfast in her views on even the most difficult issues," said Town Manager Tim Pickering. "She was knowledgeable and prepared on the array of municipal subjects that council members must grapple."
Nicola, 43, died while being airlifted to Phoenix from Page after the accident Thursday morning, said Al Nash, a spokesman for Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
Nicola and her parents were trying to park their 75-foot houseboat at Last Chance Bay on Lake Powell when the boat her father was operating crushed her, he said. She was handling the ropes on the beach when she slipped and fell as the boat moved forward and pinned her underneath, Nash said.
Nicola broke her pelvis and suffered severe trauma and damage to her internal organs, he said. Her parents had to bring Nicola back on the boat because they had to drive about an hour away to radio for help, Nash said.
Officials were notified about 10 a.m., and she was initially taken to a hospital in Page, he said. She later died about 15 minutes into the transport to Phoenix.
Nicola worked at the Fountain Hills Municipal Court for about 10 years and served on the Town Council for about three years, Pickering said. She was born in Chicago on July 25, 1961, and moved to Lave Havasu City as a child. She moved to Fountain Hills about 21 years ago, said Delores Connelly, her mother.
"To me, she was wonderful," Connelly said Friday.