John Smith (Con) died along with his wife, Angela, and daughter Jackie when their plane crashed on Monday.
Mr Smith, 56, had been a member of the council since May 1987.
A chartered accountant, he was recently elected chairman of the Maldon Constituency Conservative Association.
Mr Smith was leader from 1991 to 1993, council vice chairman from 1995 to 1997 and chairman from 1997 to 1999.
Maldon DC chairman Rodney Bass said:
'The council mourns the loss of a dedicated, respected and popular councillor and I mourn the loss of a personal friend.'
Mr Smith was due to stand as a Conservative candidate for Burnham-On-Crouch North ward in the 3 May elections. The election for both the district and parish councillors for this ward will be suspended, as required by law.