Obituaries for Nov. 16, 2022

Lee Johnstone

Lee Johnstone, 61, died peacefully in Port Richey, Florida, on Oct. 30, 2022.

Originally from Kearny, Lee moved to Florida where she enjoyed the company of her parents and sister’s family in Orlando. After losing her mother (Virginia, 2017) and father (Doug Sr., 2019), Lee moved to Port Richey, where she lived life her way, sharing her love with her furred and feathered pets.

Lee faced challenges with determined independence, without complaints or excuses. Her heart grew continually larger and warmer as she shared her love with family, friends and pets.

Lee is survived by her siblings, Doug Jr., David and Amy, and her pets who have a new family to love.

Lee is now at peace, but she will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved her.

In lieu of a service or interment, Lee would prefer that such efforts go to support your local animal rescues on her behalf.

Ellen Watson Sarvis

Ellen Watson Sarvis, 83, died in Copley, Ohio, Nov. 4, 2022.

Ellen was born in Jersey City NJ to James and Isabelle (MacArthur) Watson. In addition to her parents, Ellen was preceded in death by six brothers and two sisters: James, Daniel, Raymond, John, Catherine McWilliam, William, Isabelle Jocz and Edmond.

A first-generation American, Ellen was incredibly proud of her Scottish heritage as her parents immigrated to the United States shortly after the First World War.

Ellen is survived by Harry, her loving husband of 62 years; her four children, Harry (Barb), Kathy (Tab) Brewster, Suzanne (Paul) Horning and Raymond, and 12 grandchildren.

Ellen grew up in Kearny and was a 1957 graduate of Kearny High School, where she met her future husband. Ellen and her family moved to Akron in 1974. Ellen graduated from the University of Akron and taught in the Akron Public Schools district for 27 years before retiring in 2005.

Per Ellen’s request, no service will take place. Burial will be at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery. A Celebration of Life will take place at a later date. If desired, donations may be made in Ellen’s name to the Alzheimer’s Association at

John Downey

John Downey, 63, died Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022, at Clara Maass Medical Center, Belleville.

Born in County Cork, Ireland, he immigrated to the United States in 1960 and lived in Kearny.

Mr. Downey was a chef at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford for many years.

He is survived by one sister, Maureen Hickey and her husband, Robert Bourg. John was the uncle of Jennifer Barrientos, Kelly-Anne Millner, Robert Hickey and Mark Hickey. He was the cousin of MaryEllen Downey. Mr. Downey also leaves behind several great-nieces and great-nephews.

Owen Higney

Owen Higney, 87, died Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, at home in Kearny.

The funeral was from the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home, Kearny. A funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Cecilia Church, Kearny. Cremation was private.

Born in Croy, Scotland, a village in North Lanarkshire, Owen left school at age 15 and began to work in the Croy Coalmines. In 1958, he immigrated to Canada and lived there for five years before moving to Kearny in 1963.

Mr. Higney was a steamfitter for Enterprise Association of Steamfitters, Local 638 in Yonkers, New York, for over 50 years before his retirement.

Owen was a member of the Irish American Club and the Scots-American Athletic Club both of Kearny as well as one of the founding members of the Kearny CSC — The Mother Club in 1963.  Owen was a Celtic supporter through and through who played a big part in bringing the Celtic Boys’ Football Club to Kearny to play against local teams, each summer for 10 years.

He is survived by his children, Peter Higney, Esther Jewart (Timothy), Mary Evanchick (Mark) and four grandchildren, Jessica Higney (Ryan), Ryan Jewart (Jacqueline), Madelyn Evanchick and Jaiden Higney and one great-grandchild, MacKenzie Mae Jewart.  Many cousins from Croy, Scotland.  Loving sister in-laws, numerous nieces and nephews and many friends.  Owen will be missed by Marley, his beloved  bull dog, who ensured “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

Owen was predeceased by his wife, Sarah (Mitchell) Higney, one son, William Higney, one brother Peter Higney and three sisters, Sr. Mary Higney RNDM (Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions), Helena and Patricia.

Gladys Dolaghan 

Gladys Dolaghan (nee Pringle), a lifelong resident of Harrison, died of natural causes, on Nov. 12, 2022, at home in the presence of her loving family. Gladys would have been 100 on Nov. 20.

Visitation will be Wednesday, Nov. 16, from 3 to 7 p.m. and Thursday morning, Nov. 17, after 9 a.m. at Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave. Harrison. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17 at Holy Cross Church in Harrison.  Her entombment will follow in Holy Cross Chapel Mausoleum, North Arlington.

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

 Gladys was born, raised and lived her entire life in the town she called home, her beloved Harrison. Not only did Gladys live her entire life in Harrison, but she also lived 92 of her 100 years on the same street, Cleveland Avenue.

For the last 67 years, 432 Cleveland Ave. has been home and it was fitting Gladys passed away in this home on the 12th of this month.

Gladys was predeceased by her loving husband John F. Dolaghan, her parents, Thomas and Ethel Pringle,

as well as her siblings, Marjorie, Thomas, Herbert and Kenneth, as well as her grandsons Brendan Michael Dolaghan and Vincent John Doffont.

Gladys was the loving mother of seven children, John, and his wife Michelle (nee Cerstvik), Michael and his partner Sylvia (nee Perez), James and his wife Marianne (nee Adamczyk) Brian and his wife Karen (nee Padavano) Thomas and his wife Cindy (nee Jones), Marylynn and her husband Vincent Doffont and Mark and his wife Colleen (nee Galladay).

Gladys was the loving grandmother of 14 grandchild — Erin and her husband Jeremy, Lauren and

her husband Robert, Brian and his wife Kimberly, Sean and his wife Jennifer, Erik and his wife Meaghan,

Jack, Emily and her husband Francis, Thomas, Vincent and his wife Brighid, Tara and her husband Thomas, Mark and his wife Jenna, Brendan, Nolan and James. In addition to her grandchildren, Gladys had 19 great-grandchildren with a 20th due in May 2023.

 Gladys met her husband John F. Dolaghan while they attended Harrison High School in the late 1930s, where the two graduated together in the class of 1940. Gladys and John courted throughout high school and planned a life together, but like many of the “Greatest Generation,” they had to put their lives on hold due to World War II.

Just days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, john enlisted in the United States Navy and Gladys would have to wait five years for him to return. When John did return, the couple didn’t waste any time and married on Oct. 12, 1946. Over the next 16 years, John and Gladys did their part in contributing to the baby boomer generation by bringing seven children into the world.

Gladys was born into the Protestant faith and was raised in the Episcopalian Church. However, as often

was the custom at the time, Gladys converted to Roman Catholicism before marrying John in 1946. Gladys became a committed and devout Roman Catholic. For 76 years, she was a member of her cherished Holy Cross Parish in Harrison. She deserved the honor of being called a “daily communicant,” having received Holy Communion at daily Mass for decades, a practice that did not stop until her mid 90s.

At Holy Cross, Gladys was a member of both the Rosary and Vincentian societies, as well as being a dedicated member of the school’s PTA. Gladys was also a proud member of the Harrison Cancer League over 40 years.

In her 100 years on this earth, Gladys saw most of the 20th century and the first two decades of the 21st. She lived through the Great Depression, an event that would have a profound effect on her for the rest

of her life. After the depression, came World War II, Korea, the fabulous 50s, Vietnam, the moon landing, the bicentennial, the Iranian hostage crisis, two more wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and sadly the horror of 9/11.

When Gladys was born, Warren G. Harding was the 29th President of the United States. When she passed away Joe Biden was the 46th President. That’s 18 presidents in one lifetime.

To her countless friends, neighbors and acquaintances she was a gentle, genuinely good and decent human being. She was a person who never had a bad word for, nor malice in her heart toward, anyone. Her empathy toward others was expressed in one of her most often spoken phrases, “There but for the grace of God go I.”

However, she could also be funny without really trying to be. Recently, when one of her great-grandchildren asked her for advice on how to live life, Gladys told the child, “Always mind your own business.”

To those of us who called her mom or grandma, she was one of the bravest, strongest, most resilient,

kind, giving, selfless people who you could ever hope to meet. If you were in her company, it was impossible to be down or dispirited, because her warm loving smile just made you feel better.

Mom loved life and everyone she met. Faith, family, country and community were everything to her.

We all love and miss you more than words could ever express. We know God will grant you eternal rest and his perpetual light will always shine upon you.

For those desiring, in lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Harrison Cancer League or make a donation to her beloved Holy Cross Church, Harrison, in care of the funeral home in loving memory of Gladys.

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.