Obituaries for Feb. 16, 2022

Nancy E. O’Hara

Nancy E. O’Hara, (nee Milbauer), 78, died Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022, in Clara Maass Medical Center, Belleville.

The funeral will be from the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home, 585 Belgrove Drive, Kearny, on Friday, Feb. 18 at 8:45 a.m. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Lucy’s Church, Newark, at 10 a.m. Interment will follow in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, East Orange. Relatives and friends are invited to visit with the family at the funeral home on Thursday, Feb. 17 from 4 to 8 p.m.

Born in Newark, Mrs. O’Hara lived for many years in Kearny.

She was employed by the Town of Kearny as a crossing guard for many years before retiring.

Nancy is survived by two children, Colleen Kazella (Andrew) and Brian O’Hara (Wafiyyah) and two sisters, Carol Butler and Linda Johnson. She was also the grandmother of Justin, Ethan and Colin Perez and Brendan and James O’Hara.

She was predeceased by her husband, Jay O’Hara.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to POAC Autism Services, 1989 Route 88, Brick, N.J. 08724.

Natial S. Amadeo

Natial S. Amadeo, 66, of Kearny died Feb. 9, 2022, after a heroic 15-year battle with cancer.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend a visitation for Natial at the Armitage & Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny, on Tuesday, Feb. 15, from 4-8 p.m. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at Queen of Peace Church in North Arlington on Wednesday, Feb. 16, at 11 a.m. Interment will follow in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington.

Born in Jersey City, Nat was raised in Bayonne and had been a Kearny resident for the past 36 years. Nat completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Notre Dame, and proudly earned his law degree from Duke University. He was a longtime attorney, operating his own practice Amadeo & Miller Law Offices in Jersey City alongside his good friend and business partner John “Jack” Miller.

Nat was an active member of Hudson Milestones in Jersey City, and served as its president several times over the years as well as a professor at New Jersey City University.

Nat enjoyed watching sports, and especially cherished the opportunities he had to coach his children’s sports teams when they were growing up. He was a voracious reader with an appetite for knowledge. Nat also loved to dance, especially to “The Twist,” where he was a two-time champion.

He was always generous with his time whenever someone was in need. Above all, Nat treasured time spent with his loving family.

The son of the late Nataile and Gussie Amadeo, Nat was the beloved husband of his devoted wife Jane (nee Drafke) for 41 years; loving father of Nataile Amadeo, Anthony Amadeo and his wife Stephanie, Amalia (Molly) Digravina and her husband John, Andrew Amadeo, Ashleigh Amadeo (fiancé Joseph Ford) and Jane Amadeo; cherished grandfather of Luke Natial Amadeo, Alessia Abigail Digravina, Eliana Rose Amadeo, and a grandson on the way. He was the dear brother of Peter Amadeo and his wife Bernice, James Amadeo, Catherine Amadeo and the late Salvatore Amadeo. Nat is also survived by his father-in-law Edwin Drafke, in-laws Edward Drafke and his wife Kay, many loving nieces, nephews, dear friends and extended family members. He was also predeceased by his mother-in-law, Mary Jane Drafke.

The family would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to Dr. Richard Furman for his compassionate care, without which Natial would have had far fewer years to cherish with his family.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to Hudson Milestones in Jersey City, or to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

 Roger G. Wharton

Roger G. Wharton, 76, of Toms River, formerly of Kearny, died Feb. 8, 2022.

Viewing was at the Armitage & Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Cecilia Church in Kearny. Cremation was private.

Born in Newark, Roger was a longtime Kearny resident until moving to Toms River two years ago. He worked as a security director for St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston for 37 years until his retirement in 2015. Roger was an avid fan of country music, and especially enjoyed the Irish Tenors.

The devoted step-son of Joan Degnan, and son of the late Frank Degnan and Dorothy Wharton, Roger was the beloved husband of Maureen (nee Olenik) Wharton; loving father of Heather Sexton and her husband William, Natalie Wharton and the late Yvonne Wharton; and cherished grandfather of Gabriel Wharton. He was the dear brother of Dorothy Latham, step-brother of Sharon Bilski and Christine Degnan Ziegler, and brother-in-law of Michael and Fran Olenik. He was predeceased by his sister Lorraine Coppola, and in-laws Stephanie Longo and Joseph Olenik; and is also survived by many loving nieces and nephews.

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

Joan R. Egan

Joan R. Egan (nee Ciuba), 79, of Kearny died Jan. 7, 2022.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend a memorial visitation for Joan at the Armitage & Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny, on Sunday, Feb. 20 from 1 to 4 p.m.

Born in Newark, Joan lived in Kearny since 1976. She worked for St. Stephen’s School in the cafeteria for many years prior to her retirement. Joan was the favorite aunt to her loving nieces and nephews.

Joan was the beloved wife of the late John E. Egan; loving mother of Jo Ann Egan, Melanie Macartney (John) and Andrea Egan; and cherished grandmother of James, Tiffany, Jonathan and Devin. She was also the dear sister of Richard Ciuba, Ronald Ciuba, Cookie Wilczek Judith Murrin, and the late Melanie Calabrese, Hobo Ciuba, Robert Ciuba and Mary Ann Caruso.

In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Ernestine ‘Cookie’ Banach

Ernestine “Cookie” Banach, 78, of North Arlington, died Feb. 11, 2022.

Loving mother of David Banach & his wife Deanna, and the late Christopher Banach, she was  the adoring grandmother of Robert Roche, Fox David Banach, Brian Christopher Banach and Baby Scarlett Amelia Banach due to arrive April 2022. She is also survived by her long time loving companion Bill Bayersdorfer.

Cookie was born in Newark. She was a nurse for 55 years starting out in 1966 as a Registered Nurse, progressing to Head Nurse and eventually Director/Administrator of Extended Care in West Hudson Hospital.

She specialized in geriatrics where as a member of National Nursing Home Association, she was honored as top administrator on the Atlantic coast.  After a long career in that position, she moved on to hospice for a time and was most recently a case worker for a nursing home, only calling it quits as a result of the COVID pandemic. She retired at the age of 76.

She was an avid supporter of animal rights and frequent donor. She was a lover of art who often frequented art and craft shows and enjoyed her personal collection.

Her funeral is set for Thursday, Feb. 17, at 10 a.m., from the Ippolito Stellato Funeral Home, 425 Ridge Road, Lyndhurst.  Funeral service at 11 a.m.  Entombment will be in Holy Cross Chapel Mausoleum, North Arlington.

Friends will be received Wednesday, Feb. 16,  from 4 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home.

Donations may be made to Bergen County Animal Shelter, 100 United Lane, Teterboro N.J. 07608.  Leave condolences 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.