Obituaries for March 3, 2021

Virginia ‘Ginger’ Catena

Ginger Catena, 76, died peacefully surrounded by her children on Feb. 20. 2021.

For 30 years, Ginger was the devoted wife to John “Tweet” DeRay and raised their children in the town she loved, Kearny. She was a dedicated mother to Maryann D’Alessandro (John), Gina DeRay (Charles Raad) and John DeRay (Christina). She treasured her children, her family and her friends for whom she would do anything.

Ginger was a caring and supportive sister and is survived by her brothers Robert Catena (Judy) and Thomas Catena.

She especially loved her role as Nana to her precious grandchildren Jack, Sophia and Nicholas.

Arrangements were by the Armitage & Wiggins Funeral Home, Kearny. Mass was celebrated at St. Stephen’s Church, Kearny. Burial was in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you please make donations in Ginger’s name to Hospital University Penn in support of their research and in honor of the incredibly loving and supportive care they provided Ginger with before, during, and after her passing. Donations may also be made to St. Stephen’s Church, where Ginger was a beloved parishioner.

To make a donation online for HUP, follow the link, please choose Ronald Fairman Research Fund and indicate the gift is being made in memory of Virginia Catena. You may also choose to make checks payable to Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, in memory of Virginia Catena. Please send checks to Jessie McCulley, Penn Medicine Development, 3535 Market St., Suite 750, Philadelphia, Pa. 19104.

Frank P. Caputo

Frank P. Caputo died Feb. 14, 2021.

He was 94.

Born in Lyndhurst, he was a lifelong resident of Kearny.

Arrangements were by the Armitage & Wiggins Funeral Home in Kearny. Burial was in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington.

Frank was the beloved husband of the late Marie Caputo (nee Engrassia). Cherished father of Frank Caputo (Dorothy), Philip Caputo (Margie), Michael Caputo (Kathy) and John Caputo. He is also survived by his sister Rosemarie Loccke and brother Anthony Caputo. He was the loving grandfather of 10 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Robert Dignazio

Robert Dignazio, 88, of Harrison died peacefully at home surrounded by his loving family Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021.

Private funeral services were conducted from the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave., Harrison.

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

Born in Maple Shade, Robert was raised in Kearny and East Newark, before settling in Harrison. He retired as a production manager for L&R Manufacturing, Kearny, where he worked for 20+ years. Prior to that, he was a supervisor for RCA in Harrison for 25 years.

He served his country in the United States Army during the Korean War as a Corporal.

Robert was an avid Giants and horse racing fan. Even until his last days, he was a master at the nightly Jeopardy! game show and daily challenging crossword puzzles.

Robert is survived by his beloved wife of 65 years, Thelma (nee Davis); loving children Donna (Ted) Davies, JoAnn (James) Botch, late Robert (Renee) Dignazio, Marianne (Dr. Donald Rubenstein) and John (Cathryn) Dignazio; cherished grandchildren Robert (Jessica), Nicole, James, John and Gianna; and he was predeceased by eight siblings. He is also survived by his brother Richard (Barbara).

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Camp of Fatima, P.O. Box 654, Harrison, N.J. 07029 or in care of the funeral home, in loving memory of Robert.

Charles ‘Charlie’ Nowicki Jr.

Charles “Charlie” Nowicki Jr., 57, of Smithville, Tennessee, died Monday, Feb. 8, 2021, at St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital.

He was born March 27, 1963 to his parents, the late Charles and Mary O’Connell Nowicki Sr. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister, Patricia Nowicki and granddaughter, Serenity Grace Nowicki.

He was a truck driver and a U.S. Army veteran.

Survivors include daughter Corrine (Jesse) Tollett, son Anthony (Tabitha) Nowicki, son Dylan Nowicki, daughter Brenda Reeder (Zach Thaxton) daughter Riki Reeder (Jarah Glenn), son Brandon Usselman and son Travis Usselman; 12 grandchildren, brother John R. Nowicki and sister Susan Nowicki.

The family has chosen a direct cremation. A Celebration of Life took place Friday, Feb. 26, 2021 at DeKalb Funeral Chapel with Military Honors by the Veterans Honor Guard.

DeKalb Funeral Chapel, Smithville, Tennessee, was is in charge.

James M. Maitland

James M. Maitland, lawyer and bagpiper, died Feb. 21, 2021.

A resident of Cherry Hill, James was 78.

Jim loved life and learning about everything: music of every kind, science, technology, government, world affairs, history and countless other interests. He was the family storyteller and the unofficial historian of the Irish and Scottish heritage of the Maitland clan.

Jim was the son of Mary and Charles Maitland, immigrants to America from Ireland and Scotland, respectively. He grew up happily in North Arlington, and graduated from Rutgers University in Newark and from Rutgers Law School in Camden.

His legal career spanned 51 years in public and private practice, including 28 years with the New Jersey Judiciary as a hearing officer. He was valued among his colleagues for his honesty, work ethic, and sense of humor.

Jim loved to play music and could often be found seated at the piano or behind a drum set. Most notably, he was a bagpiper for 40 years and played with various organizations, but found his home with his beloved Greater Trenton Pipes and Drums.

Jim is survived by his wife of 51 years, Lorraine, his deeply loved children Ellen Garzon and Michael Maitland, his devoted son-in-law David Garzon, his future daughter-in-law Daria Dieguts and his precious grandchildren, Louίs and Kaela Garzon, who brought him more happiness than could ever be expressed in words.

He is also survived by his and Lorraine’s wonderful siblings and their spouses Janet and Bill Law, Charles and Mary Ann Maitland, Maureen and Charles Jacobson, Eleanor and Sam Ceasar, Alice and Rob Newton, and George and Barbara Dobosh. In addition, he is survived by a grand assortment of nieces and nephews and his lifelong friend Bob Finch.

In his high school yearbook, Jim was described as a gentleman and a scholar, and so he remained his entire life. He was devoted to the law, to equal justice for all and to a decent and caring society. Due to COVID-19, a memorial service will be delayed until safer days, when we may gather to enjoy Scottish cakes and hot tea, and listen to his band mates pipe him out in style.


Patrick J Herriron, 93, died Friday, Feb. 26, 2021.

Raised in Newark and raised in Harrison, Pat attended Holy Cross and Seton Hall Prep, later moving to Egg Harbor Twp. 20 years ago.

He proudly served in both the United States Army and the United States Navy during the Korean Conflict.

Pat worked in security for the Atlantic Palace Hotel in Atlantic City before retiring three years ago. Earlier, he worked for over 40 years as a supervisor with NJ Bell in Newark.

He was a member of the VFW in Somerset and the Knights of Columbus, St. Katherine Drexel Chapter. in Egg Harbor Twp.

Pat was the son of the late William and Margaret (née Roddy) Herriron, and husband of Erma “Trudi” (nee Cohen); the father of Ann McCorkle; the grandfather and best friend of Andrew McCorkle; the father of Jody Feinberg and the late Perry Feinberg; the grandfather of Jake Feinberg and Mara Brown and her husband Scott; the great-grandfather of Zachary; the brother-in-law of Susan Klein and her husband Lonny, and Michele Rabinowitz and her wife Linda Detwiler; the twin brother of the late James P Herriron aka “Cherrybomb,” brother of the late Mary Ann (Mae) McDonald, and the beloved cousin of Laura Comppen, Ruby and Carson Rodrigues and Ann Weston.

Patricia Thompson

Patricia Thompson died Feb. 25, 2021.

She was 78.

Born in Kearny, she lived most of her life there before moving to Nutley.

Patricia worked as a mortgage underwriter for many years for American Bank in Bloomfield.

Funeral services were private and in the care of the Armitage & Wiggins Funeral Home in Kearny.

Patricia was the beloved wife of George Thompson. She was the loving mother of Michael (Beata), George Jr., Barbara (Mark Spain), Robert (Laura) and Mark (Dana). She was the sister of Eileen, Kathy, Gail and the late Joan. She was the cherished grandmother to Danielle, Amanda, Andrew, Emily, Sarah, Erik and George III and great-grandmother to Adryan.

In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to Pathways to Independence.

Raymond R. Hislop

Raymond R. Hislop, 97, died Friday, Feb. 26, 2021.

Born in Jersey City, he was raised in North Arlington, lived in Lyndhurst for nine years before returning to North Arlington 58 years ago.

He proudly served in the United States Army during World War II and was a member of the VFW in North Arlington.

He worked 46 years for Fidelity Union Trust Company in Newark, retiring in 1988 as a branch manager and vice president.

He was a member of the Holy Name Society and served as an usher in Queen of Peace Church, North Arlington.

Raymond was the beloved husband of Rose (nee Langhirt); the devoted father of Rosemary Hislop, Nancy Hislop Miller and her husband David J., Raymond Hislop, James Michael Hislop, Christine Hartigan and her husband Dennis and Michael Hislop and his wife Teri; the cherished grandfather of Nathan Miller and his wife Ann, David H. Miller and his wife Rediet Abebe; Christy Miller and her husband Mike, Alyssa Hartigan, Michael Hislop and his wife Neona Cho, and Ginny Rock and her husband Bryan; the doting great-grandfather of Amelia Sarah Miller; and the dear brother of the late David, John, Walter and Helen Hislop.

Ray was devoted to the love of his life, his Rose, his bride of 72 years, and was always available and committed to his family. He was known for seeing the good in people. Ray enjoyed Sunday lunches and fishing trips with his brothers. He relished vacations in Wildwood with his family, enjoyed every sunset, spent as much time as possible traveling and cruising, loved being outdoors whether walking or enjoying nature. He was a skilled gardener learning from his beloved mother.

Ray will be remembered by his family for his wisdom in knowing that loving and being loved are the most important parts of our lives.

On Monday, March 1, 2021, a funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Michael’s Church in Lyndhurst with burial in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington.

The Parow Funeral Home, North Arlington, was in charge.



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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, an organization he has served 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 social media channels such as YouTube, Facebook, and X, 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 Kearny to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.