Obituaries for March 9, 2022

Jon Cassill

It is with extreme sadness that we announce the passing of Jon Cassill (66). He was a bright light in this world and will be missed by all who knew him.

Jon was born in Cleveland on Dec. 11, 1955. He graduated from the American University in Paris. Jon was a freelance artist and designer in New York City prior to joining Tiffany and Co., where he was a senior designer and product development project manager for 20 years.

Jon was a brilliant artist, talented photographer, and avid gardener, but his true passion was for his family. Jon’s eyes would always light up when he spoke of his children Alexa Zoe and Sean. He was devoted to his wife of 32 years — Elena.

Jon had the capacity to see beauty and magic in the smallest things. He loved fiercely and deeply and we take comfort knowing that Jon is now at peace and surrounded by light.

In lieu of flowers or donations, we ask that you perform a random act of kindness, and be gentle and compassionate with yourselves and each other.

A private celebration of life will take place at a later date.

William Howdy Ronan

William “Howdy” Ronan of Little Ferry, formerly of Harrison, died Dec. 10, 2021, in the presence of his partner Clair Cuniff.

Bill was born in Newark and was raised in Harrison where he lived for most of his life. Bill was predeceased by his parents John and Fanny Ronan, as well as his brother Jack and sister Patricia.

Bill’s dad was born in Northern Ireland and his mother hailed from Scotland. Bill was immensely proud of his heritage.

At a young age, Bill was given the nickname “Howdy” due to his red hair and freckles that caused him to resemble the children’s television character Howdy Doodie. As Bill got older, some people took to calling him “The Dude,” but to most he was known simply as Howdy.

Howdy attended Holy Cross Grammar School and Harrison High School, where he excelled at soccer and baseball. After high school, he entered the US Army and later received an honorable discharge. After returning from the Army, Howdy became a local coaching legend.

From a young age, he showed leadership abilities on the sidelines, coaching not only semi-professional soccer but basketball and softball as well. Howdy loved sports and they were an important part of his life. Bill had an encyclopedic knowledge of players, stats, trivia and the fundamentals of all sports.

As he grew older, he developed a particular affinity for girls’ softball, which he grew to love.

Aside from sports, Howdy had a wonderful, lighthearted personality with a quick wit and a unique ability to needle you and make you happy that he did. Howdy high pitched lilting Irish voice filled the room and you know immediately that the “Dude” was in the house. To say that Howdy was a Harrison legend is an understatement indeed. All who knew him and had the fortune of spending time in his company will treasure his memory.

In addition to tending bar in many Harrison and Kearny establishments, Howdy also worked for Amtrak at Penn Station in Newark. Howdy was a “red cap,” or baggage handler and many a commuter came to look forward to their interactions with Howdy who seemed to make their commute just a bit more pleasant.

Unfortunately, Howdy suffered a stroke at the age of 50. Just to prove his doctors wrong (something Howdy relished) he went on to live for more than 30 years post stroke. Anyone can tell you how rare that feat is. Whenever asked about it, Howdy would just say he was a tough kid from Harrison.

That tough kid from Harrison will be missed by all who knew and loved him.

Rest in peace William “Howdy” Ronan.

Robert J. Padavano

Robert Joseph Padavano, 53, died suddenly on March 2, 2022.

Rob was born on Sept. 19, 1968, in Kearny. He was raised in Belleville and later resided in Kearny, where he enjoyed many friends, football and especially spending time with his dad, Robert Sr.

Robert will always be remembered for his infectious laugh, generosity and warmth.

Robert Jr. is survived by his father Robert Padavano Sr., mother Diana (McLaughlin) Padavano; brother Michael, sister Renae, brother-in-law Al Maslag, nephew Joshua, nephew and Godson Jacob Anthony; nieces Alexandria and Maya and many loving aunts and uncles.

Cremation was private. The Armitage & Wiggins Funeral Home, Kearny, was in charge.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the American Heart Association.

Dorothy Ann M. DeMedici

Dorothy Ann M. DeMedici, 79, died March 4, 2022.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend a visitation for Dorothy Ann at the Armitage & Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny, on Tuesday, March 8, from 4-7 p.m. A funeral service will be celebrated in the funeral home on Wednesday at 11 a.m., and burial be in Arlington Cemetery, Kearny.

Born in Kearny, Dorothy Ann was a lifelong resident until moving in with her daughter in Washington Township several years ago. Dorothy Ann was an avid bowler and a talented painter. She enjoyed sewing and crocheting, and especially treasured making her loved ones handmade ornaments at Christmastime.

The daughter of the late William and Dorothy Ann (nee Robshaw) McCullough, Dorothy Ann was the beloved wife of the late Anthony F. DeMedici; loving mother of Christine Santiago and her husband Thomas and Susan Michael and her husband Christopher; cherished grandmother of Thomas Jr., Vanilla, Christopher and Nathan; adoring great-grandmother of Vienna and dear sister of Roberta Pearn.

In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Susan Campbell McKeown

Susan Campbell McKeown, 86, of Kearny, died March 1, 2022.

A funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Stephen’s Church in Kearny. Cremation was private. The Armitage & Wiggins Funeral Home, Kearny, was in charge.

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Susan has lived in Kearny since 1973. She worked in environmental services, and as a housekeeping director for Servicemaster, caring for departments at Beth Israel Hospital in Newark and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Paterson.

She enjoyed reading, usually taking in one book per day. She also liked spending time writing her memoirs. Susan was well known in town, and her delicious steak pies were the best anywhere, and were enjoyed by many. Susan cherished Friday nights spent with the Pink Ladies, and especially time spent with her loving grandchildren.

Susan was the beloved wife of the late Sonny McKeown; loving mother of Gerald McKeown and his wife Susan, Joanne McKeown and Thomas McKeown; treasured grandmother of Jean Marie, Kelly Campbell, Ian Stewart and Kieran; and dear sister of Tina Smith.

Susan was best known for her spontaneous cheekiness and wit. She will be dearly missed.

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

Ashlee Lynne Kelly

Ashlee Lynne Kelly, born May 2, 1991, died Feb. 27, 2022.

She is survived by her parents Tina and Ron Kelly and brother Eric. She is also survived by her boyfriend Jacob Jarvis and his bother Melissa Jarvis. She is survived by many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. She will be missed.

Ashlee graduated from Kearny High School and received an associate degree from New Jersey City University. She was currently studying for a nursing degree from Phoenix College in Arizona. She was also working full time at Yauapai Regional Medical Center as an emergency room administrator.

Ashlee loved animals, especially her cat Luna. She touched and helped many a life in her travels and we were so proud of her.

A celebration of life memorial will take place at the Harrison-East Newark Elks on April 16 at 2 p.m. All are invited.

Learn more about the writer ...

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.