John Insalaco, longtime Apache Junction councilmember and mayor, dies at 85

Dec 21, 2023, 9:30 AM

Headshot of John Insalaco, former Apache Junction, Arizona, mayor, who died Wednesday, Dec. 20, 202...

John Insalaco, former Apache Junction mayor, died Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2023. (Apache Junction Photo)

(Apache Junction Photo)

PHOENIX — John Insalaco, who served Apache Junction over a 20-year span as a councilmember and mayor, died Wednesday, the city announced. He was 85.

Originally from Rochester, New York, Insalaco moved to Arizona in 1970, initially living in Globe.

He relocated again in 1986 to Apache Junction, a metro Phoenix suburb east of Mesa. He had two stints on the Apache Junction City Council, from 1997 to 2001 and from 2003 to 2007, and served as mayor from 2007 to 2017.

During his time as a councilmember, Apache Junction went through exciting changes, according to a city press release, including the expansion of government facilities to create a new city hall, library and Multi-Generational Center.

His tenure as mayor included leading the city through the Great Recession.

“He was one year into his first term as mayor when the city faced economic hardship during the Recession of 2008,” the city said. “He continued his service as the city began its first steps to substantial expansion to the south that eventually turned into the annexation of state land for the 4-square-mile Superstition Vistas development now underway.”

John Insalaco’s impact on Apache Junction community went beyond politics

Insalaco, who owned Insalaco’s Music and Upholstery from 1971 to 2011, regularly played music in public settings into his 80s.

He also was a member of the American Legion, Knights of Columbus and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Insalaco is survived by his wife, Susan, three children and five grandchildren.

No cause of death information was released. Details about services are pending.

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John Insalaco, longtime Apache Junction councilmember and mayor, dies at 85