Obituaries for Oct. 4, 2023

Thomas J. Dunwoodie

Thomas J. Dunwoodie of Kearny died Sept. 23, 2023.

He was 83.

A funeral Mass was celebrated Oct. 2 at St. Stephen’s Church with his ashes present. Following the Mass his urn was entombed in the Holy Cross Cemetery Mausoleum, North Arlington.

Tom was a retired Chief Fire Inspector for the Town of Kearny. He enjoyed fishing and his trips to Maine, where he would collect rocks as a hobby and paint character faces on them.

He was the husband of Karen (nee Meyers) and father of Glenn Dunwoodie, (his wife Kathy), Kevin Dunwoodie (his wife Lauren) and Tom Dunwoodie (his wife Michelle). Also surviving are his grandchildren Ashley, Thomas, Jonathan, Karlie and Konnor.

In lieu of flowers, Tom’s request was that you consider a donation to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

Doris Teresa Shinn

Doris Teresa (née Kelly) Shinn, 99, died at her home in Northridge, California, Aug. 8, 2023.

Born in Harrison on May 2, 1924 to Herbert and Ruth (née Hollister) Kelly, Doris was a child of the Great Depression. She remembered its lessons throughout her life and treated every hardship as a temporary misfortune that would soon be overcome. A clever bright-eyed girl with a bob cut, young Doris sang and tap-danced in vaudeville shows and was always the star student in her class.

In 1942, she married her classmate and fellow star student, Harold “Happy” Joseph Shinn. Together, they raised five girls and three boys at their long-time home in Kearny (1950-1991). Their house was filled with children and with music — Doris singing low harmonies as her sons played guitar and her daughters sang while washing the dishes each night.

Her children grown, Doris returned to school. She earned her degree from Montclair State University in NJ in 1975 and became a school librarian. She loved books and loved teaching children to read.

Doris moved to Georgia in 1991 and lived in Jonesboro before joining her eldest daughter Barbara in Northridge, California, in 2018. Swimming daily into her 90s, Doris was at home in any pool and enjoyed her winters by the sea in Marathon, Florida. She taught countless children and adults to swim and helped them find the joy that she found in the water.

The proud matriarch of the Shinn family, Doris took great delight in her 20 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren, who helped keep her young.  Scattered coast to coast and across the pond, her big family nonetheless stayed close.  Doris cherished every gathering and every chance to raise her voice in harmony with her family.

If you met Doris, you would remember her: she refused to be daunted by adversity and greeted every challenge with a smile. She embodied strength of will and fortitude of spirit. Doris hated goodbyes, preferring to smile and wave “so long.”

Doris is survived by her children, Barbara (Swerkes), Peggy (Naumann), Jerry, Janet, Lorrie (Ostroman), John, and Betty (Wells), their spouses, and many grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband Happy, her son Dave, and her granddaughter Ginny (Naumann).

Join us in saying “so long” to Doris at the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home, 585 Belgrove Drive, Kearny,  on Friday, Oct. 6 from 3-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Stephen’s Roman Catholic Church in Kearny on Saturday, Oct. 7 at 10 a.m. Interment will follow at Holy Cross Cemetery in North Arlington.

Ralph A. Labruna

Ralph Labruna passed died Sept. 27, 2023.

He was 75.

Born in Suffern, New York, Ralph moved to Kearny 50 years ago.

Visiting was at the Armitage & Wiggins Funeral Home, Kearny. Mass was celebrated at St. Stephen’s Church in Kearny. Burial was in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington, with Military Honors.

Ralph was the beloved husband of Diane (nee Giordano) and cherished father of Laura Kenig (her husband Jason) and the late Amanda DeVita (her husband Mike). Brother of Linda Warbrick, he is also survived by his beautiful grandchildren Aubrey, Brayden and Sloan along with loving nieces and a nephew and their families.

Ralph was a 1969 graduate of Providence College and began his service to our country in 1970 as a soldier in the United States Army. An active military serviceman in Vietnam, Ralph was a member of the Elite 101st Airborne Division and was a recipient of The Bronze Star.

He was a featured character in the military novel, “Walking In The Shadow of Death,” by William Henderson. Ralph was a very popular home-improvement painter in Kearny and the surrounding area for many years. After retirement, he worked as a custodian for the Kearny Board of Education for 10 years. His greatest joy in life was his family. He adored his wife and daughters. He cherished his grandchildren and loved cooking Sunday dinners.

In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to the Wounded Warrior Foundation in Ralph’s 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.