In Memoriam • NJCU Faculty/Staff

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In Memoriam • NJCU Faculty/Staff

In an effort to honor members of the university community who have passed away — including students, alumni, and active or retired faculty or staff — the Office of Marketing and Communications has introduced an In Memoriam section of our website for loved ones and friends to leave memories and tributes on In accordance with NJCU's new In Memoriam policy, this page is dedicated to honoring active, retired and former administrators, staff, faculty, and adjunct faculty of New Jersey City University and Jersey City State College. When possible, we will link to obituaries, news articles or other sources to honor the deceased.

If you would like to leave remembrances or tributes to the deceased, please complete our In Memoriam form.

If you would like to submit information for the In Memoriam page, please contact


Charles Ellington, a beloved leader of the NJCU Housekeeping Team within the Facilities & Construction Management Department, unexpectedly passed on April 1, 2024, at the age of 56. He joined the NJCU community on July 18, 2011 and dedicated nearly 13 years of service to the university. He was soon promoted to the position of Day Shift Supervisor for Custodial Services. | Tribute

Diana Crawford Jeffery '77, '94 M.A., an adjunct professor of Early Childhood Education and an NJCU alumna passed away on January 4, 2024 at the age of 69. She earned a B.A. in Elementary Education with K-5 certification and an M.A. in Urban Education/Urban Schools. She worked as a devoted educator for Jersey City Public Schools for over 32 years through 2010. She also taught at NJCU as an adjunct beginning in 2008. | Obituary


Gloria Grant, a long-time beloved teacher assistant at A. Harry Moore School, passed away on November 12, 2023. She was 61 years old. Gloria joined the NJCU and A. Harry Moore School communities in September 1997 and celebrated her 25th year of service to the university last year. She had served as a union steward of NJCU's CWA Local 1031 for many years, was recently recognized by CWA for her service with a certificate of honor. | Obituary | Read the NJCU Tribute to Gloria Grant

Sherry Ann Thomas, a long-time professional staff member and labor leader, passed away on October 19, 2023 after a brief illness. She was 60 years old. Sherry joined the NJCU community in April 1997 and celebrated her 25th year of service to the university last year as a Building Maintenance Worker, most recently serving in the Housekeeping Department after beginning her career in the Public Safety Department as a security guard for many years. Additionally, Sherry was a union leader in Local No. 195 of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE AFL-CIO.). She has held the title of Madame Chapter President since May 25, 2017. | Read the NJCU Tribute to Sherry Thomas

Lewis Seagull, Adjunct Professor in the English Department since 2006, and current professor, passed away on July 15, 2023 at the age of 70, after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Lew was a dedicated teacher of Fundamentals of Communication and continued to teach as recently as the Spring 2023 semester, even after falling ill. Additionally, a labor leader on campus, Lew served as Vice President for Adjunct Faculty for AFT Local 1839 for many years, and was a steadfast advocate for the importance of adjunct faculty to the university and supporting their work. A staunch labor supporter, he also represented adjunct faculty at State negotiations. | Read the NJCU Tribute to Lewis Seagull | Obituary

Dr. Maria Lynn, Professor of Psychology, and a long-time current NJCU faculty member and administrator, passed away on Monday, April 24, 2023 with her family in in St. Charles, Missouri after a brief battle with brain cancer. She was 62 years old. Dr. Lynn joined the NJCU community in Fall 2002, and in more than 20 years of service was a distinguished professor and administrator. Read the NJCU Tribute to Dr. Lynn | Obituary

Ronald Bogusz, of Belleville, N.J., the former Director of Publications at then Jersey City State College and later NJCU, passed away on March 10, 2023, at the age of 69. | Obituary

Alvin Neiman, CPA, a former accounting professor at then Jersey City State College and a resident of West Orange, N.J., passed on February 3, 2023, at the age of 77. After leaving the institution, he joined Caldwell University in 1988, and taught for over 35 years. | Obituary

Rachel Zampaglione (nee Buschelle) of Warren, N.J., who worked at then Jersey City State College as an administrative assistant for 20 years, passed away on January 5, 2023, at the age of 90. | Obituary


John A. Wanat of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, formerly of Freehold and Jackson, N.J., passed away on December 23, 2022, at the age of 82. He was the former Assistant Director of the Center for Occupation Education at then Jersey City State College. He served on the New Jersey Governor's Council on Volunteerism and the Board of the New Jersey Intergenerational Network, having served as their first president. He also served on over 25 committees and boards in Monmouth County. | Obituary

Evan S. Cooper, of Westwood, N.J., an adjunct professor of Music Education since 2020, passed away on November 25, 2022 at the age of 74. | Obituary

Dr. Mirtha Quintanales, Professor of Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies at NJCU since September 1988, passed away in early November at the age of 73. A resident of Jersey City, N.J., she was born in Cuba on November 28, 1948 before coming to the United States in April 1962. | Read a tribute to Dr. Quintanales from her colleagues David Blackmore and Virginia Ochoa-Winemiller.

Dr. Laura Wadenpfuhl, 65, Professor of English at NJCU, died on November 5, 2022 in her native New Orleans, La., following a long illness. She jointed the university faculty in September 1998. | Tribute to Dr. Wadenpfuhl from Professor Barbara Hildner

Richard Burroughs, a former instructor in NJCU's Fire Safety Manager program and fire academy instructor, who was one of the first Black firefighters in Bayonne city history, died July 25, 2022, at the age of 81. He joined the department in 1966 and was promoted to lieutenant in 1991, becoming the first Black superior officer in Bayonne Fire Department history. He retired in 2003. | News Obituary | Obituary

Daniel J. Minch, Binghamton, N.Y., an Associate Director of Athletics for 13 years from the 1977-78 season through September 1991, passed away on June 25, 2022 at the age of 77. After leaving Jersey City State in 1991, he became director of athletics at Broome Community College, where he spent the final 20 years of his career. He was named NACDA Athletic Director of the Year in 2005. He spent over 45 years as a forceful advocate for student athletes. | Obituary

Hilary Englert, 52, Associate Professor of English at NJCU, died on April 25, 2022. She joined the university faculty in September 2003. Between 2008 and 2015, Dr. Englert served as English Department co-chair twice and once as chair. | NJCU News

Louis DeLuca, 88, a former Vice President and Director of College Relations and Development at then Jersey City State College, died on January 2, 2022. | News | Obituary

Reverend Arnold F. Jeter, 82, the final head football coach in NJCU history, died on January 1, 2022. Jeter spent 48 years in college athletics, including the final 17 at NJCU as associate head coach/defensive coordinator, its ninth head football coach and later as its first-ever Coordinator of Athletic Academic Advisement and Retention and CHAMPS/Life Skills Coordinator, before retiring in July 2012. Jeter's career in college athletics officially spanned 48 years including 39 as a football coach from coast to coast at the Division I and III levels, with stops at the University of Iowa (1966-67), Delaware State University (1967-74), Marshall University (1975-77), University of Wisconsin (1977-86), University of Arizona (1987-90) and Rutgers University (1990-93), before joining the staff at NJCU in 1995. Services will be held on Saturday, January 15, 2022 at the Pilgrim Baptist Church, 172 Shrewsbury Ave., Red Bank, N.J. 07701, with a viewing at 10 a.m. followed by funeral services at 11 a.m. | Retirement Story from 2012 | NJCU News Tribute


Nai-Ni Chen, a current adjunct faculty and dance community partner of NJCU's Music, Dance, and Theatre department, died suddenly in a swimming accident while on vacation in Hawaii on December 12, 2021. She was teaching MDT 116-Dance Techniques Jazz this semester. Nai Ni Chen and her Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, of which she was founder, choreographer and Artistic Director, had donated their time and performances to the students of the A. Harry Moore School for many years. Read the tribute from New Jersey Stage. A Gofundme has been established to assist the family with funeral expenses. | A memorial service was scheduled for January 8 and 9. | Broadway World

Rita C. McKeon `71 `90 M.A. (B.S. in Nursing and M.A. in Nursing Education), 74, an alumna and former adjunct professor of Health Sciences, died on November 23, 2021. In 2006, she was awarded the NJCU Distinguished School Nurse Alumna of the Year Award. | Obituary

Newton Jones Burkett, Jr., 83, a former adjunct professor of research and writing from 1995 to 2008 died on November 3, 2021. | News | Obituary

Robert Thurston, retired administrator and professional services specialist in NJCU's Opportunity Scholarship Program, died on October 20, 2021. He was married to Rosemary Fox Thurston, the Chair of the NJCU Department of History. | Obituary

Eleanor Kreta, 100, a former adjunct professor at Jersey City State, died on October 13, 2021. | Obituary

William 'Bill' Olear, 81, former head football coach at Jersey City State from 1992-94, died on July 15, 2021. | Obituary

Barbara Jean (Nacnodivitz) Eldridge `69, 73, a former academic advisor for veterans at Jersey City State College from 1979-85, died on July 9, 2021. | Obituary

Linda Smith, 72, a former performing arts programming consultant at several schools, including NJCU, died on June 11, 2021. | Obituary

Sister Mary Elizabeth Dacey, 90, a former Adjunct Professor of Communications at three Hudson County schools, including NJCU, died on May 7, 2021. | Obituary

Dr. M. Jerry Weiss, 94, Distinguished Service Professor of Communications Emeritus, who throughout his life made a profound influence on literacy in New Jersey and the United States, passed away on March 12, 2021. On October 5, 2006, NJCU dedicated the M. Jerry Weiss Center for Children's and Young Adult Literature in his honor. | Obituary

Hugo Morales `85, 59, alumnus and former Director of Marketing, and an artist, educator, and activist, died on February 24, 2021. | Obituary

Sheila Kirven, a beloved member of the NJCU family since November 1998 as an Education Services Librarian and Associate Professor in the Congressman Frank J. Guarini Library, died on January 9, 2021. | Obituary