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Author Archive

Obituaries

Beatriz DaSilva

Beatriz DaSilva died April 4 in Clara Maass Hospital. She was 87.

Born in Portugal, she lived in Newark and many years in Harrison.

Arrangements are by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral Mass was set for Tuesday, April 8, at 10 a.m. at St. Anthony Church, East Newark, with burial to follow at Holy Cross Cemetery. To leave online condolences, please visit www. armitagewiggins.com.

Wife of the late Julio, she is survived by her sons Julio, Antonio and Manuel DaSilva. She is also survived by six grand and seven great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to the Harrison Cancer League c/o the funeral home.

Peter G. Drofiak

Peter (“Lineman Pete”) George Drofiak, 65, of Kearny, passed away on Saturday, April 5, at Alaris on Belgrove Drive, Kearny.

Peter was born in Penley Hall, England, and was a longtime resident of Kearny. Peter graduated from Kearny High School, served in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict and was honorably discharged. He was a lineman for the Kearny Fire Department for 26 years.

Peter was the loving son of the late Stefan and Eva Drofiak, brother of John Drofiak and devoted uncle of Eve Holiday Drofiak and Samantha Drofiak.

Services were by the Shaw- Buyus Home for Services, 138 Davis Ave. , Kearny.

Mildred S. Ferreira

Mildred S. Ferreira died April 1. She was 78.

Born in Newark, she moved to Kearny 45 years ago.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral Mass was held at Queen of Peace Church, North Arlington, followed by burial in Holy Cross Cemetery. To leave online condolences, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com

Mildred, along with her husband Luciano, owned and helped manage their family business, L. Ferreira and Son Fuel Oil in Kearny.

Wife of Luciano Ferreira Jr., she is also survived by her children and their spouses Mary and Vincent Abbott, Viola and Rick Diebold, Rosemarie and Alan Masters and Luciano Ferreira III. She was the sister of Fran Pfluger, Helen DaCruz, Suzanne Taskowitz, Teresa Raimondi, Kathy Stolte and Thomas Reagan. Also surviving are her grandchildren Annmarie Grenga, Danielle and Vincent Abbott, Craig, Cyndi and Samantha Dieck, Alan, Michael and Kimberly Masters and Kerri Ferreira and six great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Leukemia Lymphoma Foundation.

Margaret M. Fitzgerald

Margaret M. Fitzgerald (nee Sweeney), 98, died April 6 at her home in North Arlington.

Born in Jersey City, she moved to North Arlington in 1958.

She worked as an administrative assistant for the RETS Electronic School in Nutley for 20 years before retiring 28 years ago.

She was the beloved wife of the late John J. Fitzgerald, the cherished mother of Dennis Fitzgerald and his wife Doris of North Arlington, Geraldine Bleach and her husband Thomas of Brick, Peter Fitzgerald and his wife Nancy of Massachusetts, and the late Robert Fitzgerald, the adored grandmother of Shane, Jamie, John and Joey, and the loving aunt of many nieces and nephews.

Viewing will be at the Parow Funeral Home, 185 Ridge Rd., North Arlington on Tuesday, April 8, from 4 to 8 p.m. A funeral Mass will be held on Wednesday, April 9, at 10 a.m., at Queen of Peace Church, North Arlington, followed by interment in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington.

Alfred J. Glowacki

Alfred J. Glowacki, 91, of North Arlington, and formerly of Jersey City, died on April 2.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. Interment was in The Brigadier General William C. Doyle Veterans Cemetery, Wrightstown.

Mr. Glowacki was a teacher at Dickinson High School in Jersey City for 32 years, retiring in 1980. He was a sergeant in the United States Army during World War II. He was a member of the Polish National Alliance.

He was the beloved husband of the late Stella Olchowa Glowacki, father of Patricia Caulfield and grandfather of Andrew and Steven.

In lieu of flowers, donations to The Wounded Warrior Project (www.woundedwarriorproject.org) P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, Kan. 66675 would be appreciated.

Anthony Palumbo

Anthony J Palumbo, 74, died on April 3 in the N.J. Veterans Home, Paramus.

Arrangements were by the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home, 585 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral service was held at the funeral home, followed by interment at Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.thiele-reid.com.

Mr. Palumbo was born in Newark and lived in Kearny for many years before moving to Paramus 17 years ago.

He served in the Navy from 1957 until 1960.

Anthony was a police officer for the town of Kearny for 31 years, retiring 21 years ago. He proudly served two terms as president of the Residence Council at the Veterans Home.

Mr. Palumbo is survived by his wife Marie G. Palumbo (nee Ostroman); three children; Mark B. Graham and his wife Patricia, Lisa M. Donabauer and her husband Joseph and John G. Graham and his wife Judy; one sister Patricia Giangerelli and her husband George; grandchildren Mark B. Graham, Kristen L. Graham, Kyle C. Graham and his wife Amber, Kelly A. Graham, Sean G. Graham, Evan P. Graham, Gina Marie Donabauer and Samantha N. Donabauer and one great-grandchild Bradley C. Graham.

He was the uncle of Janine Cerreto (nee Giangerelli) and her husband Carmen and their children Christina and Anthony.

Anthony was predeceased by his parents Thomas and Clara (DeVivo) Palumbo and his sister Virginia Laterza and her husband Joseph.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the N.J. Veterans Home Paramus, 1 Veterans Dr., Paramus, N.J. 07652 or to a charity of your choice.

Orlando Suarez

Orlando Suarez died April 5. He was 83.

Born in Havana, Cuba, he lived in Belleville before moving to Lyndhurst a year ago.

Visiting will be on Tuesday, April 8, from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral Mass will be held Wednesday, April 9, at 11 a.m. at Queen of Peace Church, followed by interment in Holy Cross Cemetery. To leave online condolences, please visit www.armitagewigins.com.

Orlando is survived by his wife Argelia and his daughters Teresita and Vivian Suarez and his grandchildren Ivannah, Ariana, Kayla, and Demi.

Dorothy Theiss

Dorothy Theiss, of North Arlington, passed away on April 3 at home. She was 76.

Born in Tennessee, she lived in Dedham, Mass., before moving to North Arlington 52 years ago. She was an R.N. at Clara Maass Medical Center for many years.

She was predeceased by her husband Thomas in 1978.

She is survived by four daughters, Kathleen Postal (Collin), Cheryl Ann Moran (William), Christine Fitzgerald and Karolyn Theiss, one son Brian Theiss (Christina), and one sister Jane Walker. She is also survived by her dear friend Judith Roemer, 12 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. www.armitagewiggins.com.

William J. Thompson

William J. Thompson died March 31. He was 85.

Born in Kearny, he was a lifelong resident and also spent his winters in Sarasota, Fla.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral service was held at the funeral home, followed by a private cremation. To leave online condolences, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.

Bill served in the Army and was part of U.S. occupying forces in Japan during World War II. He was a retired detective sergeant from the Kearny Police Department. He was a member of Copestone- Ophir F.&A.M., the West Hudson South Bergen Optimist Club, the Tatum Ridge Golf Club and had worked and played for years at Crestmont Country Club.

Husband of Barbara (nee Nicolls), he is survived by his children and their spouses Jeffrey and Meg Thompson and Dorine and John Pomponio. Brother of the late David Thompson and Gladys Smith, he was also the devoted Pop Pop to Travis Thompson, Allison Fisher, Lindsey Link, Jessica and Tucker Thompson and Joshua, Kaitlyn and Sara Pomponio. Also surviving are his great grandchildren Molly, Jack, Cooper and James.

In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to Grace United Methodist Church, Kearny.

Bidding farewell

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By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent

NUTLEY –

In 1955, the USS Forrestal was commissioned as America’s first post-World War II aircraft carrier — a 1,067-foot “supercarrier.” For nearly four decades, it sailed the seas, serving this nation in peace and in war — and surviving a disastrous 1967 accident in which 134 crewmen died and more than 160 were injured.

In 1993, it was decommissioned and put in “storage,” first at Newport, R.I., and then at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.

And where is this historic vessel now? Being torn asunder and turned into scrap metal in Brownsville, Texas. Read more »

It’s Bianchi vs. Massa for mayor

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By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent

NORTH ARLINGTON –

A pair of septuagenarians will square off against each other for the borough’s highest office in this year’s municipal election in North Arlington.

It’ll be Democratic incumbent Peter Massa, seeking a third term, facing Republican Councilman Joseph Bianchi for mayor.

This is Bianchi’s first try for the mayoralty. Since his 3-year term on the council runs through 2016, he can reclaim his seat if he’s unsuccessful in the mayoralty race.

Bianchi’s GOP running mates for Borough Council will be incumbent Dan Pronti, a retired cop who works now as a realtor, and newcomer Kerry Anne Cruz, a realtor, while, on the Democratic side, Massa’s ticket will include incumbent Councilman Mark Yampaglia, an attorney, and Dan Castro, who ran unsuccessfully in 2013. Read more »

Sewer rehab nightmare for locals

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HARRISON –

You can’t blame people living along the eastern stretch of Hamilton St., between Kingsland and Schuyler Aves., for feeling like they’re in a sort of war zone.

For many months, the area has been inundated with a tangle of above-ground pipes and barricades blocking traffic flow and uprooting curbside parking for the entire block.

Harrison Gardens, the sprawling public housing complex, sits on the south side of Hamilton and Harrison High School fronts on the north side.

The issue is a massive infrastructure project being tackled by the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission (PVSC) which has dragged on since last summer, seemingly with no end in sight. Read more »

Move to create middle school

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By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent

KEARNY–

The Kearny Board of Education is on record endorsing a middle school campus.

The board voted 6-0 at a special meeting last Monday, March 24, to get the ball rollling. Missing from the scene were Vice President John Leadbeater and members John Plaugic and Dan Esteves.

On the subject of the middle school (grades 6, 7 and 8 combined into a centralized “campus”), the board authorized district officials to begin formal negotiations with the owners of the St. Stephen’s School (or, as it was most recently known, Mater Dei Academy) on Midland Ave. for its purchase and/or lease. Read more »

Brushfires plague meadows

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By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent

Last week’s windy weather, combined with dry conditions in the meadowlands, kept local firefighters busy with brushfires, including three within one day.

On Wednesday, the first blaze was reported at 12:30 p.m. along the N.J. Turnpike in Kearny. Kearny Fire Chief Steve Dyl noted that it was a small one and, despite the winds, was “under control quickly.”

But as soon as that was quenched, a much larger brushfire was reported at 12:46 p.m. near Rt. 280 along the Harrison-Kearny border — and there, Dyl noted, “the wind played a major role,” with 35-45 mph gusts spreading the flames.

Crews from Harrison, Kearny, East Newark and Secaucus responded. Read more »

Guard smuggled drugs into prison

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KEARNY–

A former corrections officer at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center satellite unit in Kearny was sentenced to state prison Friday for smuggling heroin and marijuana into the facility, which houses sex offenders.

Acting N.J. Attorney General John J. Hoffman reported that Bobby Singletary, 55, of Paterson, was sentenced to seven years in state prison, including five years of parole ineligibility, by Superior Court Judge Mitzy Galis-Menendez in Hudson County.

Singletary was also ordered to forfeit his entire pension and is permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey. Read more »

Is N.J. going to pot? Cops hope not

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By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent

Even if the state legislature legalizes the possession and personal use of small amounts of marijuana for people age 21 and older, it appears that several area communities would still look to ban the practice.

And that’s an option that municipalities could exercise, through the passage of a local ordinance, under the proposed law.

The bill, S1896, as introduced March 27 by State Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Union), with a companion bill in the Assembly, has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for further debate. Read more »

This ‘Sweeney’ sure to be on cutting edge

Photo courtesy Matt Boryszewski The Harrison High School Drama Club cast of “Sweeney Todd.”

Photo courtesy Matt Boryszewski
The Harrison High School Drama Club cast of “Sweeney Todd.”

 

 

By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent

HARRISON –

Ready for a bit of skullduggery flavored with some twisted Sondheim music?

Then you’ll want to see the Harrison High School Drama Club’s deliciously dark depiction of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.”

Yes, it’s the Broadway thriller musical with music by Stephen Sondheim and book by Hugh Wheeler that featured Len Cariou as the British barber back from an Australian exile with a vengeance and Angela Lansbury as the doomed pie maker Mrs. Lovett in the original cast from 1979 which won a Tony for Best Musical. Read more »

Thoughts & Views: Once there was a ‘debris field’ in N.Y.

PHOTO COURTESY GOGOLE IMAGES

PHOTO COURTESY GOGOLE IMAGES

As the mystery and media feeding frenzy over Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 continue, I have been thinking about another aircraft disaster, this one closer to home and a long time ago.

When I was with the N.Y. Daily News, I wrote about it for a New York City history series the newspaper was running. If you’re interested in that article, you can find it online; the headline is, “Red Snow: The Brooklyn Air Crash, 1960.”

At the risk of plagiarizing myself, I’m going to write about it here, because it affected me deeply.

That’s because I grew up in Down Neck, Newark, directly under the flight path to nearby Newark Airport, and back in those days air crashes were more common, so I felt that what happened easily could have happened in my neighborhood. Read more »