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Death notice dated October 5, 2022

Philip H. Thiele

Philip H. Thiele, 90, our beloved “Cappy”, passed away suddenly but peacefully, as he had always hoped, on Sunday evening, September 25, 2022, at Job Haines Home, Bloomfield.

Visitation was held at the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home, 585 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. The funeral service was held at First Presbyterian Church of Arlington, Kearny. The cremation was private. Condolences and memories can be shared at

Born in the family home at 247 Belgrove Drive on December 27, 1931, he lived in Kearny until moving to North Arlington in 1965.

Philip graduated from Kearny High School in 1949. On Memorial Day in 1951, he rang the doorbell of the John D. Crane & Sons Funeral Home at 241 Kearny Ave. He was hired as an apprentice, and it was the start of a 70-year career in the funeral service.

He was drafted in 1952 and served his country in the US Army. After being honorably discharged in 1954, he returned to Crane Funeral Home. Upon completion of his apprenticeship, he enrolled in the McAllister School of Embalming in New York City and graduated on June 20, 1957. Shortly thereafter, he earned his New Jersey Mortuary Science Practitioner License ( No. 2383).

On December 23, 1966, the Crane family sold the funeral business to Philip and Joan Thiele where they continued to operate the funeral home for the next 42 years. On December 5, 2008, his son, Steven, and daughter-in-law, Helen, acquired the Edward T. Reid Home for Funerals at 585 Belgrove Drive. This is where Crane, Thiele and Reid Funeral Homes currently operate as the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home.

Philip was a member of the Essex, Union and West Hudson Funeral Directors Association and the New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association. Mr. Thiele was an active member of the Kearny Optimist Club, Salvation Army Advisory Board, Copestone-Ophir Lodge No. 108 F. & AM and First Presbyterian Church of Arlington, all of Kearny. Phil was also a member of the Ocean Grove Fishing Club and the Crystal Point Yacht Club, Brick. It was at Crystal Point that he moored his beloved Chris Craft named the “Wake Maker”.

In his later years, Phil enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren, taking trips to the Jersey Shore, and watching his favorite sports teams. Every boat or marina we see, every Giant, Yankee, or Ranger game we watch, every perfectly prepared Manhattan VO on the rocks we drink are just a few of the things that will remind us of our beloved “Cappy.”

A sincere thank you to all the staff at the Job Haines house. Your care and compassion are second to none.

He is survived by three children, David P. Thiele and his wife, Patricia Wieland of Nanuet, New York; Gaye S. McLaughlin and her husband, Richard, of Livingston; and Steven R. Thiele and his wife Helen de Kearny. He was the grandfather of Jessie Thiele, Sarah and Matthew McLaughlin and Brendan, Jonathan, Ryan and Jeremy Thiele.

Phil was predeceased by his wife, Joan Thiele (née Adams), his brother, Alfred E. and his wife, Elaine S. (Schweighardt) Thiele.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions in their name to the Memorial Fund of the First Presbyterian Church of Arlington, Kearny.

Gerald Jay Without faith or law

Jay Lawless passed away on September 21, 2022.

He was 88 years old.

Born in Jersey City, he lived in Harrison and for many years in Kearny before retiring to Florida 34 years ago.

Visitation was held at Armitage & Wiggins Funeral Home, Kearny. His funeral mass was held at St. Stephen’s Church, Kearny. Burial was in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington.

Jay served in the military during the Korean War. He graduated from Seton Hall University and later earned his master’s degree from St. Peter’s. He was a principal for the Kearny Board of Education. He was a huge Yankees and Giants fan. He enjoyed playing tennis and was a longtime member of the Arlington Players Club.

Jay is survived by his beloved wife Peggy (née Davitt), his loving children; Bridget McEwan, Kathleen Lawless and Sean Lawless as well as her grandchildren Cailin, Evan, Thomas, Patrick, Christian, Madeline and Gerald and her great-grandson Michael.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Robert Momentum Gassert

Robert “Moose” Gassert has died aged 68.

Bobby grew up in Harrison and lived there until moving to Toms River in 2013.

Bobby worked for the Harrison Police Department and the Harrison Housing Authority for 34 years and retired in May 2009. He loved working for the City of Harrison. Bobby did his job with pride and wore his badge with great honour.

He was a faithful communicant of Holy Cross Church, Harrison, and St. Justin the Martyr Church, Toms River, where he served as Extraordinary Minister of the Holy Eucharist. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus in Harrison and the Harrison-East Newark Elks before transferring to Toms River Council.

Bobby loved taking pictures of beautiful sunsets and lighthouses. He was always ready to lend a hand in any way he could with energy and a smile.

Bobby has dedicated his life to caring for his beloved wife Joan Ellen. He met Joan Ellen in the Harrison Library Park that we all know so well. They fell in love, got married and traveled the world together. May the Choir of Angels take our dear friend Bobby to heaven to be with his beloved Joan Ellen.

Visitation was held at Silverton Memorial Funeral Home, Toms River. A Christian burial mass was celebrated at St. Justin the Martyr’s Church, Toms River. Interment took place in Sainte-Anne Cemetery in Wall Township.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the St. Francis Bread line in New York, New York and also to the St. Vincent DePaul Society at St. Justin the Martyr Church.

John Jack Without faith or law

John “Jack” Lawless of Harrison passed away peacefully on September 20, 2022 at the age of 94 surrounded by his loving family.

Jack, the son of Frank and Mary, was a lifelong resident of Harrison and a parishioner of Holy Cross Church. He graduated from Harrison High School and served in the military during World War II. He was predeceased by his parents, his sister Mary and his brothers Frank and Jay. Jack had an unbreakable bond with his brother, “Uncle Frank”, and the dynamic duo were well known in Harrison.

Jack was Irishman of the Year for the Cifelli Association in 1997.

Jack was a proud Harrison firefighter, beginning his long 35-year career in 1957. He retired as Deputy Chief in 1992, when he earned his enduring nickname of “MP” from his sons. As many of you know, a firefighter’s career doesn’t end with retirement. Jack was a member of FMBA Local 22, Firemen’s Relief and Exempt Association and the Harrison Police and Firemen Federal Credit Union Oversight Committee. He spent countless afternoons listening to the fire scanner or driving his fire engine red Buick.

His greatest achievement in life, however, was to be a cherished husband, devoted father, dear brother, and doting dad. He was admired and adored by his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, whom he affectionately called Poppa’s Crew, often trading his Harrison baseball cap for their sports teams as he was their biggest fan.

Jack was a timeless family man, spending summers at Seaside Park, vacationing in South Carolina, traveling to Atlantic City, and enjoying vacations with his family and friends. He never passed up a chilly outing or outing with friends.

Jack was predeceased by his wife of 62 years, Ann Lawless, and stepdaughter, Susan Lawless.

Jack is survived by his two sons Jack Lawless and his wife, Eileen and Jimmy Lawless and his wife, Lorena; her four grandchildren Jodi Cocchiola and her husband, Tom, Meghan Wilkinson and her husband, Dave, James Lawless and John Lawless; his four great-grandchildren Thomas Jack, Paige Elizabeth, Kate Elizabeth and Delaney Sue; his sisters-in-law, Margaret Chiarello and Peg Lawless, as well as many cousins, nieces, nephews and cherished friends.

Funeral services were under the direction of Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave., Harrison. A funeral mass was celebrated at Holy Cross Church in Harrison. His entombment took place at Holy Cross Chapel Mausoleum, North Arlington.

In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations in Jack’s memory to the New Jersey Firemen’s Home, 565 Lathrop Ave., Boonton, NJ 07005 or VNA Hospice Care at or Fund Development Office, 199 Rosewood Drive, Suite 180, Danvers, MA 01923.

Marie A. McCrea

Marie A. McCrea, (LaSpada), 91, died Thursday, September 29, 2022 at Clara Maass Medical Center, Belleville.

Funeral services will be held at Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home, 585 Belgrove Drive, Kearny on Tuesday, October 4 at 10 a.m. A funeral mass will be celebrated at the Queen of Peace Church, North Arlington, at 11 a.m. Cross Cemetery, North Arlington.

Born in Kearny, Ms. McCrea moved to North Arlington in 1942.

She was a customer service representative at Valley National Bank in North Arlington for many years before retiring.

Marie is survived by two daughters, Diane McCrea and Colleen McCrea and her husband, John McAdams; and three grandchildren Jesse and Cody Czerminski and Natalie Cassano. She was predeceased by her husband, Albert McCrea and a brother, Carmen (Mike) LaSpada.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions in their name to the Bergen County Animal Shelter and Adoption Center, 100 United Lane, Teterboro, NJ 07608.

Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor and broadcaster of The Observer, a place where he has worked on and off since 2006. including the weekly editorial), making live broadcasts on facebook live, including a weekly news recap – and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he presented his very first blog to the newspaper, 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 returned to West Hudson to return full time to The Observer. Click on here to email Kevin.