Back in 2015, when the Board of Education was faced with a vacancy among its own, the group voted unanimously, 8-0, to pick Bryan J. Granelli to fill the seat. He had the experience they were looking for as a former executive and then owner and founder of a private security firm that often dealt with schools.
He had a daughter in the Kearny School system.
He was the right man at the right moment, as it goes.
In the years that followed, with a break from the board for a short period of time, Granelli served with distinction, always putting the needs of children above everything else. However, in what could only be described as unexpected, shocking — Granelli died Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022.
He was just 54.
Granelli was born Oct. 29, 1967, the second of five children. He was raised in Kearny where he attended Franklin School. He then went on to St. Peter’s Preparatory School, graduating in 1985. Four years later, he earned a degree in accounting from St. Peter’s College in 1989. He worked in the private security field for many years before founding his own firm, Patriot Security Group.
Bryan was described as the ultimate family man.
He married wife Jacqueline in 2005 and they settled in Kearny. They have two daughters, Jessica and Abaigeal (Abbey). Jess married Nick Paonessa and have three children, Jordan, Cameron and Carter. He was known to be a great dad, a loving husband, a doting grandfather, loving son and brother and a favorite uncle to many nieces and nephews.
He was best known in Kearny for being a member of the Board of Education for many years, but he also coached youth sports and then, when his daughter Abbey grew older, he was involved in every sport she played. He was also active in the Scots American Club of Kearny.
“Bryan lit up every room he entered. He was a character. He had a great sense of humor and was an expert with inappropriate sarcasm,” his obituary reads. “No one was spared, especially the ones he loved the most. He was always one to have a good time and celebrate every occasion. There are many of us who today who could proudly share stories of Bryan that will make you laugh out loud.”
Outpouring of love from town that loved him & he loved
Though Granelli died Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022, his untimely death wasn’t announced, publicly, until four days later — Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. Once word began to spread — especially on social media — it was clear that lost was someone who could only be described as a gem.
The comments almost universally spoke of a man who loved his family, who loved his community and who loved to the an example of what the Jesuits taught him in high school and college — to be a Man for Others.
Perhaps the most poignant remarks came from his brother, Dennis.
“It is with deep sadness that we mourn the passing of our beloved brother, Bryan Joseph Granelli,” Dennis writes. “Bryan was so deeply loved, and we will miss his laughter, his generous spirit and his smile immensely. He was a pillar of the Kearny community and was deeply committed to his loving family. He was a fiercely loyal friend and his brotherhood extended well beyond the Granelli clan.”
“Our tears and our grief are obviously plentiful, but we would be remiss in not recognizing and treasuring the hundreds of friendships that Bryan forged during his short lifetime. All of your words, prayers and messages bring us all inordinate peace and solace.”
He then concluded with a quote from Astrid Alauda, which read, “There’s no other love like the love for a brother. There’s no other love like the love from a brother.”
Dennis, of course, was hardly alone in offering remembrances.
Drew Dunleavy was his long-time friend and he took to Facebook to praise Granelli.
“Where do I begin. I can’t believe you are gone Bryan Granelli,” Dunleavy writes. “You always had a kind heart and made us laugh hysterically — the core of our tight-knit friends. Friends, but more like family for over 35+ years, we spent nearly every day and weekend together growing up, worked multiple jobs together, lived in multiple apartments together, shore houses, parties, clubs, prank calls, sports, endless rides on the way home singing our favorite songs … golf outings, Scots Club Halloween parties, etc. Man I miss you brother (more) than words can possibly say. Life gets in the way and even though the last several years we spoke less, I was glad to have been in New Jersey this past January to enjoy time together once again laughing at all the shenanigans we were a part of.
Until we meet again, watch over all of us ‘Bry guy’ and rest in peace my dear friend. You will be missed more than you can ever know.”
Samantha Olenik Paris is the President of the Kearny Board of Education — and a long time friend of Granelli’s
“We started out as Abbey’s dad and Hailey’s mom 10 years ago … I’m so happy that we became much more than that over the years,” Paris writes. “You always watched over all the kids as if they were your own and I’m so grateful for that because I always knew they were safe with you. I will miss our conversations and your inappropriate jokes … our board meetings will never be the same. I know you will be watching over Jacki, Jess and Abs from above. Hailey and I will help them down here. You will forever be our peeps! Rest easy, my friend.
Granelli was predeceased by his mother Elizabeth, mother-in-law, Lorraine, and father-in law, Kevin. He is survived by his wife and daughters, son-in-law, grandchildren, father, brothers, sister, brothers and sisters-in law, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles and countless friends.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Epilepsy Foundation at www.give.epilepsy.com/page/33651/donate/1.
A foundation in Bryan’s name will be also established to carry on his memory.
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.