Former Rio Rancho Observer reporter and longtime newspaperman Eric Maddy was found dead in his Rio Rancho home March 31 by former city councilor and county commissioner Dave Bency.

Maddy, a 1980 graduate of Sandia High School, was the city reporter for the Observer from January 2004-January 2005.

“I check up on him regularly,” Bency said.

Although Maddy had been in poor health in recent years, even having a leg amputated from the effects of diabetes, the news of his passing shocked many.

Eric Maddy

“As superintendent for Rio Rancho Public Schools I had the pleasure of working with Eric on a wide variety of stories and topics,” said Sue Cleveland, like Maddy an alum of Sandia High School. “I always appreciated Eric’s insightful questions and the professional way in which he conducted his business, especially during school board meetings. He faithfully attended board meetings over the years and always made an effort to learn both sides of an issue before reaching a conclusion.

“He will be deeply missed for his contributions to the news industry and also to our community,” she added.

Rio Rancho Mayor Gregg Hull said he met Maddy during his first run for office in 2014.

“We had some great conversations,” Hull said. “He was integrated in the community and very interested in how Rio Rancho was growing and getting information into the community.”

Former mayor Tom Swisstack said he and Maddy would have breakfast and talk politics every so often.

“Eric was somebody who I think loved Rio Rancho. He was opinionated about economic development issues, how elected officials should work closely with businesses and community leaders,” Swisstack said. “As I interpret him to be, he was a very caring person. (Lately), because of his health, he was unable to attend forums or meetings.”

Added Dennis Latta, former Albuquerque Journal sportswriter and sports editor: “Eric spent most of his life working in sports. … Eric also worked as a teacher and tried to make a living with a website with news on Rio Rancho.”

That was SCORE, Maddy’s acronym for Sandoval County Online Reporting Enterprise, in which advertisers were charged a dollar a day and Maddy reported on a lot of city and county government, as well as area sports.

“He was a guy who had a lot of enthusiasm for Rio Rancho sports and the city in general,” said Rio Rancho Public Schools Athletic Director Bruce Carver. “He was a guy that was always around and friendly and easy to talk to.”

Bency said Maddy was a great writer and longtime journalist.

“His dry sense of humor was never in pause mode,” Bency continued. “He loved everything Pittsburgh sports and had incredible sports stories and master of trivia. He battled long-term medical issues the last five years of his life and fought hard. He was proud to be a Sandia Matador and UNM Lobo. He will be missed.”

As of press time, no scheduled service had been found.