by Max Brantley
Maria Haley, 70, the executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, died at 8:45 p.m. today.
She had not been expected to survive a brain aneurysm that felled her last Friday.
I knew Maria. Her energy and activity belied her age. She had a remarkable life.
Statements released by the governor's office:
"Maria Haley did more for the State of Arkansas than most people will ever know. Her tireless mission to create and keep jobs in Arkansas was a primary factor in our ability to ride out the recession as well as we have. After living all over the world, Maria made Arkansas her adopted home, and dedicated herself to its betterment for more than 30 years. She was one of the first people I wanted on my team when I became governor, and she will be dearly missed as a friend and colleague." - Governor Mike Beebe
"Maria was an inspiration to everyone she came into contact with. She was a woman of the world who brought a unique perspective to economic development, with an absolute laser focus on doing every possible thing she could do to create jobs for the people of Arkansas. We will miss her guidance and her friendship. On behalf of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission I want her family to know the important place she held in so many lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with you." - Tom Kirk, Chairman of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission
UPDATE: Jim Pickens, a former director of the AEDC, also died last night.