Cecilia G. "Cissy" Laureys
AGE: 81 • Netcong
Cecilia G. (nee Romano) Laureys, a retired four-term Morris County freeholder and mother of 10 children who was affectionately known as "Cissy" to family, friends and colleagues, died on Sunday, July 7, 2013 at Saint Clare's Hospital in Dover. She was 81. In 1987, Laureys became the first woman ever elected to the Netcong council and was currently in her 25th year of service in that office. Laureys lived her entire life in Netcong where she raised a family of 10 children with her husband of nearly 25 years, Edward V. Laureys, who predeceased her. After receiving a B.A. in History from St. Elizabeth's College in Convent Station in 1952, Laureys taught kindergarten and 5th grade for several years before opting to become a full-time homemaker following the birth of her first child, Edward J., who predeceased her in October. Even as her family grew, Laureys volunteered her time to various nonprofit enterprises. She established a faith-based grassroots organization called "Friends in Service of Humanity," or FISH, that helped to coordinate transportation for the sick, elderly and financially disadvantaged at a time when such services weren't readily provided by local government.
In the 1960s Laureys fourth-born child, Brian, was determined to have nonverbal autism. That diagnosis, which came at a time when very little was known about the condition, led Laureys to become active in giving her time and talent to the Association for Retarded Citizens. Similarly, the need to be very "frugal" in managing a large household inspired Laureys to become an avid proponent of conservation and recycling in the 1970s, long before such practices became official state policy. As a councilwoman, Laureys was named Netcong's first recycling coordinator and went on to establish an award-winning program. In the late 1980s Laureys' worries about the then-freeholder board's intention to build a mass-burn trash incinerator in close proximity to the water supply led her to become a vocal opponent of the plan. This became a major factor in Laureys' decision to run for freeholder, an office she handily won in her first bid for it. During her tenure as freeholder Laureys' championed improvement in county human services.
Laureys is predeceased by two sons, Edward V. and Brian M. Laureys; her husband, Edward V. Laureys, and her siblings, Estelle Guarini and Pasquale Romano Sr. Laureys is survived by four sons, Ken and his wife Liz of Riverdale, MD, Stephen and his wife Lisa of Hackettstown, Thomas of Netcong and Christopher and his wife Barbara of Williamstown, NJ; four daughters, Kathy Clanton and her husband Eric of Portland, OR, Cecilia M. Laureys of Palm Springs, CA, Vincenia Annuzzi and her husband Anthony of Andover Twp., and Margaret Laureys of Netcong; and her brother, Dominick Romano and his wife Kathryn. She is also survived by ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Visitation will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Morgan Funeral Home, 31 Main St., in Netcong. Although Laureys was a parishioner of St. Michael's Church in Netcong, due to construction issues ongoing there, her Funeral Mass will be held instead at St. Theresa's Church, 151 Main St., Roxbury this Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. Interment to follow at Stanhope Union Cemetery. Messages of condolence may be sent to: www.netcongfuneral.com
For those who wish, donations may be made in Mrs. Laurey's name to: Skylands Center Offering Autism Programs, Doctors Park Building 3, Seber Road, Hackettstown, NJ 07840.