Obituaries for Feb. 3, 2021

Peter Justin Millar

Peter Justin Millar tragically lost his life on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021, after a construction accident in Newark.

Relatives and friends are invited to visit at the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home, 585 Belgrove Drive, Kearny, on Wednesday, Feb. 3, from 4 to 8 p.m. and Thursday, Feb. 4, from 2 to 6 p.m.

Cremation will be private.

Condolences and memories may be shared at

Born in Belleville, Peter lived in Kearny his entire life before moving to Rutherford three months ago.

Mr. Millar was a long time member of Sheet Metal Workers Union Local 25 in Carlstadt.

He is survived by his parents, Peter Lees and Margaret “Maggie” (nee Fisher) Millar, one sister, Edana Rahbari and her husband, Sean, one nephew, Blaine and two nieces Brooke and Isabella. He is also survived by his beloved fiancée, Sandra Maaser, and her daughter, Lauren. He also leaves behind many relatives in the United States, Ireland and England.

Peter Justin, known by those closest to him as “PJ,” would always be seen walking his faithful canine buddy, CiCi. He was an avid photographer and loved photos of sunsets and CiCi.

As beautiful as the sunsets he captured, he is now off into the sunset and watching over us all from above.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the ASPCA at

Paul Rogers

Paul Rogers of Kearny died peacefully on Jan. 23, 2021, from complications of a stroke.

He was 70.

Born in Kearny on Dec. 7, 1950, Paul lived his entire life in the Hudson County town. He leaves behind his loving wife of 36 years Donna (nee MacKenney); his sister Eileen McDonald of Lansdale, Pennsylvania; a brother George of Kearny; three nephews and a niece. He was the son of the late George and Agnes (Mulligan) Rogers.

Paul retired from the Kearny Fire Department as a captain in 2002 after 25 years of service.

He loved traveling to Europe, including visits to Russia, Spain, Germany and Italy to name a few. He also enjoyed spending time at his summer home in New Brunswick, Canada. Additionally, Paul worked for a number of car dealerships in their parts departments, and in recent years, the lifelong learner enjoyed attending Rutgers Newark, taking classes in subjects ranging from art to environmental geology and doing pottery.

Paul was a member of the West Hudson Optimist Club and served on the board of directors of the Pioneer Boys and Girls Club of America. He also organized a food drive called CanStruction, which involved Kearny High School engineering department students and supplied six local food banks. Most recently, he helped the Apostles’ House in Newark by raising money, throwing parties for the children in the spring and buying Christmas gifts.

Funeral services are private, in the care of the Armitage & Wiggins Funeral Home in Kearny. A memorial service will be announced at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to the Apostles’ House, 24 Grant St., Newark, N.J. 07104, or to the First Presbyterian Church Food Bank, 663 Kearny Ave., Kearny, N.J. 07032.

Annette Smith

Annette Smith (nee Philipson) of Toms River, formerly of North Arlington, died Jan. 23, 2021.

She was 95.

Arrangements were entrusted to the Armitage & Wiggins Funeral Home, Kearny.

Born in Kearny, Annette was a lifelong North Arlington resident until moving to Toms River five years ago. She worked as a bookkeeper for First National Bank in Kearny until her retirement, and was a longtime devout member of the First Lutheran Church of Kearny.

Annette enjoyed spending time at her summer home in Brick Town and most treasured time spent with her family.

Annette was predeceased by her beloved husband Basel Smith in 1987. She was the loving mother of Bruce Smith and his wife Carol and Susan Zimmermann and her husband Bill, cherished grandmother of Kristin Carr and her husband Chris, Ryan Smith and his wife Courtney, Matthew Smith, Jayme Haeussler and her husband DJ, Billy Zimmermann and Stephen Zimmermann; and the adoring great-grandmother of Cameron, Carolina, Trey and Dane. Annette was predeceased by her siblings Elsie Stevenson and George Philipson.

In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to the First Lutheran Church of Kearny, 65 Oakwood Ave., Kearny, N.J. 07032.

Stephanie Kuhrt

Stephanie Kuhrt of Kearny died Jan. 25, 2021.

She was 95.

A funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Stephen’s Church in Kearny. Cremation was private.

Born in Harrison, Stephanie was a longtime Kearny resident. In her early years, Stephanie was employed by RCA in Harrison, later working for Wallace & Tiernan in Belleville, and finally Roy Rogers, later Wendy’s in East Rutherford.

Stephanie loved being in the great outdoors, especially camping and taking trips to the beach. She also enjoyed time spent at home, doing word books, crafts, ceramics and crocheting. Above all, she most treasured time spent with her loving family.

The daughter of the late Stephen and Sophia Levchak, Stephanie was the beloved wife of the late Frederick John Kuhrt Sr., and mother of the late Frederick John Kuhrt Jr. She is survived by her loving children John Kuhrt, Lorraine Kuhrt Fitzgerald and Garry Kuhrt. She was the dear grandmother of Frederick John Kuhrt III (Nicole), John Kuhrt Jr. (Michelle), Michael Kuhrt, Daniel Kuhrt and Kayla Fitzgerald; adoring great-grandmother of John Angel Kuhrt, McKenna Grace Kuhrt, Michael Kuhrt Jr. and Frederick John Kuhrt IV.

She was the loving mother-in-law of Karen Kuhrt, Deborah Kuhrt and Richard Fitzgerald. Stephanie was the cherished sister of the late Stanley Levchak and Anne Schlaefer. She is also survived by her loving nieces and nephews Stephen, Thomas and Sharon Levchak, Donna Scott Christ, Christine Tate, Amie Schlaefer, Jada Schlaefer, Richard Kuhrt, Suzanne Kuhrt and Donald Kuhrt.

Michael Jude Vitale Sr.

Michael Jude Vitale Sr., 78, of Kearny, died Jan. 25, 2021.

Born in 1942 in Jersey City, Michael was raised in Hoboken and attended A. J. Demarest High School.  Michael is best described as a kind, strong and generous man with a heart of gold that deeply touched so many lives.

He worked at NY Shipping Company for 18 years after retiring from Verizon Communications.

Michael was the husband of the love of his life, Carolyn Vitale (née Capone), dedicated and beloved father of Nancy, Glenn and his wife, Joann, Michael Jr. and his wife, Susana. He was very proud of his cherished grandchildren, Anthony, Victoria, Jason, Nico, Alexis, Evan and Tyler, who all adored him.  Devoted brother of Joseph Vitale and his wife, Michele, Michael Cannarozzi and his wife, Arlene, and the late Billy Vitale and his wife, Denise, Ray-Ray Vitale and Matthew Cannarozzi.  Endeared brother-in-law of Michelina Meola and her husband, the late Ralph Meola and Marie and Joe Klimakowski. He is also survived by many cousins, nieces, nephews, friends and loved ones.

He was predeceased by his parents, Philomena (née Tronolone) and Raphael Vitale.

Funeral services are private and were under the direction of the Nazare Memorial Home, 403 Ridge Road, Lyndhurst.

In lieu of flowers, Michael’s family requests donations be made in his memory to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, Tenn. 38105 or by following the link in Michael’s online obituary. Please visit where you may express your condolences to Michael’s family by using his tribute wall.

Rachel B. Fitzpatrick

Rachel B. Fitzpatrick (nee Shearer), 88 of Dingman’s Ferry, Pennsylvania, died peacefully at Warren Haven Nursing Home on Jan. 29, 2021.

Funeral services are private, in the care of the Armitage & Wiggins Funeral Home, Kearny.

Born in Jersey City, Rachel was a longtime resident of Kearny and North Arlington until moving to Dingman’s Ferry in 2005.

She was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, Kearny, and was a former head majorette for the Kearny High School marching band.

Rachel worked for the Bank of New York in North Arlington for over 40 years, working all the way up to branch manager before her retirement.

Rachel was the beloved wife of 65 years to the late John Fitzpatrick; loving mother of Robert Fitzpatrick (Geraldine) and William Fitzpatrick; dear grandmother of Megan Fitzpatrick and aunt of Shirley Effner (Doug) and their daughter Lisa. Rachel was predeceased by her sister Marion Corkin.

William M. Conklin Sr.

William M. Conklin Sr., 77, of Montclair, died Jan. 31, 2021.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend a visitation for William at the Armitage & Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny, on Thursday, Feb. 4 from 4 to 8 p.m. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at Holy Cross Church in Harrison on Friday, Feb. 5, at 10 a.m. Cremation will be private.

Born in Newark, William was raised in the Ironbound section, and was later a longtime Kearny resident until moving to Montclair 10 years ago. A die-hard fan of the New York Rangers, William loved attending games, but he most enjoyed taking long walks, especially if it was with his loving dog, Benji.

William was the beloved husband to the late Irene (nee Young) Conklin. He was the loving father of James Young and his wife Maryam, Elaine A. Conklin and her husband Butch Casey, Margaret Santeramo and her husband Jason, William M. Conklin Jr. and Mary K. Conklin and her husband Robert Gorski. He was the cherished grandfather of Vinny, Mark, Ariana, Malana, Skyler, Liam, Jay Jay, Kevin Jr. and Robbie. He is also survived by his brother Michael Conklin and by many loving friends and family members. He was predeceased by his brothers Richard, Joseph and Thomas Conklin.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to the ASPCA.









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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.