Such sweet sorrow saying ‘farewell’ to McCurrie and Cardoso

Cardoso, second from left, and McCurrie, center, with, from left, Mayor Alberto G. Santos, Councilwoman Eileen Eckel and Fire Chief Joseph Mastandrea, at the last scheduled council meeting of 2022. Melanie Ryan photo

I first met Albino Cardoso around 1998 when I took a shot at running for office. We lived in separate wards (he the First, I the Second) but I knew he was an ardent supporter of the candidate against whom I was running. (That candidate, one year later, has gone on to become Kearny’s longest-tenured mayor.)

But throughout the campaign, bumping into him on the streets and elsewhere, Cardoso was always one of the kindest human beings I knew. Nearly 25 years later, that hasn’t changed a bit.

I would see him more often in the early 2000s when I was the youth minister at St. Cecilia Church, where Cardoso was a loyal parishioner, as he remains today. And then, until now, as he’s served the town for 13+ years, he’s never once compromised who he is for the sake of politics or government.

He was a stalwart in the Keegan fight. He was in favor of responsible redevelopment. He was never an automatic “yes” vote, even if all eight of his colleagues were. He represented the First Ward of Kearny for a baker’s dozen years with class, pride, distinction — and his shoes will be hard to fill, though we have every confidence in George Zapata’s ability and desire to do so.

I’ve also known McCurrie for just about the same length of time. I recall her attendance at council meetings well before she was elected, often coming in her with her mom among others. Her mum and dad were close to being Kearny royalty and it was a shock to the system when they both died not too far apart at the start of the COVID-19 crisis.

But Sue, like her dad, had public service in her blood, so it came as absolutely no shock when former Councilman Mike Kelly decided to resign before his term ended in 2004 that McCurrie was choice to replace him. Months later, she won her first election and, like Cardoso, never lost one thereafter.

McCurrie, a lawyer, likely put in more hours behind the scenes than one could ever imagine as she was long the chairwoman of the town’s ordinance committee. Crafting laws does not happen overnight — but takes many a late night — and she did that, without complaint, magnificently. In fact, the law she crafted to ban plastic bags in Kearny was superiorly stronger than the one the state implemented earlier this year (it did not ban paper bags, among other things.)

Her creation of Kearny ACES has left the town more Green that it ever has been. Her creation of the Kearny farmer’s market has allowed thousands of people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to fresh produce to have that access in their own backyards.

She, too, will be a tough act to follow, though we firmly believe Stat is ready for the challenge.

So while saying goodbye to both is a difficult pill to swallow, we do so knowing their retirements are well deserved, following so many years of tremendous, selfless service. I know I will miss them both very much.

I sense (most of) the entire town of Kearny will, too.

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.