Obituaries for Jan. 20, 2021

Margaret K. Kelly

Margaret K. Kelly, (nee Hacker), 73, died Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, at her home in Kearny.

The funeral was from the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home, 585 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Stephen’s Church, Kearny. Interment was in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington.. Condolences may be shared at

Born in Newark, Mrs. Kelly lived in Kearny her entire life.

She graduated from Seton Hall University in South Orange in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in education.

Margaret began her teaching career at Clinton Street Elementary School in Newark. She later moved to St. Stephen’s Elementary School in Kearny where she would teach for 30 years.

Mrs. Kelly was a CCD. teacher, a member of both the Pre-Cana Team and the Rosary Society, as well as a choir member, reader and eucharistic minister, all at St. Stephen’s Church.

She is survived by her husband, Robert Kelly; six children, Margaret Adolfson and her husband, Garey, Mary Mannion and her husband, Brendan, Brenda McCarthy and her husband William, David Kelly and his wife, JoAnne, Timothy Kelly and his wife, Michelle and Matthew Kelly. She also leaves behind two sisters, Irene Schmidt and Katherine Pedersen and 13 beloved grandchildren.

Margaret was predeceased by her brother, Alfred Hacker.


John T. “Jack” Ness, 98, of Surf City, formerly of Kearny, died peacefully on Jan. 14, 2021.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend a visitation for Jack at the Armitage & Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny, on Tuesday, Jan. 19 from 4-7 p.m. A funeral service will be celebrated in the funeral home on Wednesday, Jan. 20, at noon. Interment will follow in Arlington Cemetery in Kearny.

Born in Newark, Jack was a longtime Kearny resident before moving to Surf City. Upon hearing the news of Pearl Harbor, Jack enlisted in the armed forces and honorably served his country in the Coast Guard during World War II.

Fiercely civic minded and deeply devoted to his hometown of Kearny, Jack served as the head of the Zoning Board, Planning Board and also campaigned for mayor in the 1960s. He could always be found at town council meetings, ensuring his fellow citizens received only the best from their local government.

Jack had a successful career as a purchasing agent for Diamond Shamrock Chemical Company, retiring in 1981. Jack most treasured time spent with his lovely wife on the beach in Surf City.

Jack was the beloved husband of the late Gloria (nee Prior) Ness; loving father of Deborah Rose and Barbara Ness-Mathis and her husband Tony. He was predeceased by his son-in-law Keith Rose and by his granddaughter Heather Rose.

In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to the Popcorn Park Zoo, 1 Humane Way, Forked River, N.J. 08731.

Maria V. Mesa

Maria V. Mesa of Harrison died at home surrounded by her loving family on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021.

She was 95.

Private funeral services are under the direction of the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave., Harrison.

If you would like to send a condolence message to her family, please visit

Born in Cuba, Maria, also known as “Yeya,” was the matriarch of the Mesa Family. She lived a beautiful 95 years and blessed so many family members and friends in her lifetime.

Yeya was the mother of 13 children (nine girls & four boys) and came to the USA for a better life from Cuba in 1971 and eventually settled in Harrison. The story doesn’t end there as she has blessed us with 64 grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren. She was a very special person and never missed a party or get together. She will forever be missed and we thank God every day for blessing us with her in our lives.

She enjoyed, watching “Family Feud,” crossword puzzles, dancing to upbeat music and reciting Cuban poetry with her family.

Maria was predeceased by her husband Maximiliano P. Mesa on Feb. 1, 1991. She is survived by her loving children, Gladys Mesa, Digna Mesa, Clarivel Mesa, Marta Mesa, Georgina Paz, Servando Mesa, Dora Mesa, Nora Mesa, Zita Mesa and Olga Caporaso. She is also survived by 64 grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. She was also predeceased by three of her sons.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Camp Fatima of N.J., P.O. Box 654, Harrison, N.J. 07029, or


Efrosini Potamousis

Efrosini Potamousis, (nee Vlachos) 87, of Kearny, died Jan. 12, 2021.

Born in Thiva, Greece, Efrosini settled in Kearny in 1967 and has lived there ever since. An avid gardener and talented cook, Efrosini enjoyed doing needlepoint projects. She most cherished time spent with her daughter and granddaughter, and caring for her family.

The daughter of the late Konstantino and Konstantina Vlachos, Efrosini was the beloved wife of George Potamousis; loving mother of Angela Kealy and her husband David, and dear grandmother of Victoria. She was the sister of George Vlachos and his wife Panagioula, Dimetria Vlahakis, Tom Vlachos and his wife Eleanor. She was predeceased by her brother-in-law, Jim. Efrosini is also survived by many loving cousins, nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Visitation for Efrosini was at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, Clifton, where a funeral service was also celebrated. Interment was in Crest Haven Memorial Park. The Armitage & Wiggins Funereal Home in Kearny was in charge.

Celeste Truskolawski

Celeste Truskolawski, 69, of Essex Jct., Vermont, beloved daughter of the late Joseph (2002) and Valerie (2018) Truskolawski, died Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021.

Born in Bayonne and raised in Kearny, she was a graduate of Kearny High School (1969) and received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Vermont in 1973.

Celeste worked at Saint Barnabas Hospital in Livingston, then moved to Vermont in 1976 and worked for the University of Vermont Medical Center as a senior application analyst.

She was predeceased by her sister Zita Ohe (Tan) and is survived by her sister Dr. Justine Szkudlarek (Lech), her brothers John Truskolawski (Lisa), Thomas Truskolawski (Janet) and her nieces Emily, Kim, Alexis, Kara, Deanna, Catherine and Julia. She also leaves behind many other family members, colleagues and friends who will sadly miss her.

Celeste loved her birds Quattro and Howie.

She was an avid UCONN, N.Y. Mets, N.Y. Giants and ice skating fan.

Memorial services will be announced at a later date.

The Armitage & Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny, was in charge.

Diane M. Decker

Diane M. Decker, 56, of Kearny, died Dec. 27, 2020.

Beloved daughter of Agnes Lucivjansky and the late John Lucivjansky, she was the cherished mother of Ryan Decker, Megan and her husband Steven McGirr, Brooke Decker and Kyle Decker. Loving grandmother of Liam and Averie, she was the dear sister of Linda.

The Armitage & Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny, was in charge.

John Wagner

John Wagner, 67, loving partner of Patty Rainone, died from Covid-19 complications on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021 in Englewood Hospital, Englewood.

John was born in Kearny to Eugene Sr. and Janet (nee Catena) Wagner. He graduated from Kearny High School and launched a successful business wholesaling and retailing automobiles. His business, Towne Auto Sales, was based in Kearny for over 40 years. John was well respected by his Towne Auto family, business associates, customers and all who knew him.

Mr. Wagner liked spending time at his residence in Florida where he enjoyed the beach and dining out, where he made many friends over the years. The time spent at his residence in Florida provided him much happiness.

John was predeceased by his father, Eugene Sr. and his mother, Janet and one brother, Michael.

He is survived by his beloved partner, Patty Rainone and her daughter, Martine Russo and her husband, Leo and their son, Giovanni Russo; two sisters, Mrs. Helen Kotchkowski and her husband, Daniel and Mrs. Deborah Schmidt and her husband Richard; one brother, Eugene and his wife, Deirdre. John also leaves behind his uncle, John Catena and aunts, nieces and nephews, great-niece and nephews and cousins.

Arrangements under the direction of Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home, Kearny.

A celebration of John’s life will be scheduled at a later date.

Contributions to a charity of your choice in John’s memory would be greatly appreciated.

Condolences and memories may be shared at




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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.