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Patrick D. Conaghan

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Patrick D. Conaghan Obituary
Patrick D. Conaghan

Bayonne/Spring Lake - Patrick David Conaghan, best known as "Judge" Conaghan, passed away peacefully at St. Barnabas Medical Center, Livingston, N.J. on March 27 at the age of 80. Pat was born in Jersey City, NJ and lived all his life in Bayonne, N.J. He had great pride and love for his hometown, the people in it and the support and love they gave him. He was sworn in as Judge of the Municipal Court of Bayonne in June 1996 serving until 2002. He dispensed justice with wisdom and kindness and was considered to be fair and reasonable, but no one could fool him with a made-up excuse. He regularly told defendants that he had heard them all.

Pat also had a home in Spring Lake, NJ and in Mariner Sands, Stuart, FL where he spent more time after he became semi-retired from his law practice in Bayonne. He was a graduate of St. Mary Star of the Sea Grammar School in 1951, St. Peter's Prep in 1955, St. Peter's College in 1962 and Seton Hall University Law School in 1965. He worked during the day and went nights all through college and law school. While he was in law school, he served as judicial clerk for the Honorable David A. Nimmo, Superior Court Judge in Hudson County.

He was admitted to the New Jersey Bar in 1965. At the beginning of his long legal career, he was a part of organizing the first Hudson County Public Defenders program as a Deputy Public Defender. He also served as an assistant counsel for the County and Prosecutor for the City of Bayonne.

Pat was a longtime member of the Bayonne Chapter of Unico National, a charitable organization. The Chapter recognized him at its Awards Reception held March 24th, presenting him with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Pat was the President of the Bayonne Board of Education immediately before he became a Judge and recently served again as a member of the Board. In his professional life, he was counsel to the First Savings Bank of New Jersey and served on its Board of Directors, as well as on the Board of Pamrapo Savings Bank. He was also a member of the Spring Lake Golf Club, serving on its Board of Trustees and as President from 2001 to 2002.

He was also active in the Bayonne Democratic Club, the New Frontier Democratic Club, Bayonne Mental Health, Irelands '32, the Jack Foye Association, and the Donald Ahearn Association. He was a member of the Advisory Board of the Mount Carmel Guild and on the Board of the Directors of the YMCA, the Bayonne Police Athletic League, the United Way of Hudson County, the Bayonne Junior Chamber of Commerce and the Bayonne Kiwanis Club, serving as its President in 1980.

Pat had a long and varied career as a distinguished attorney, practicing law for over 50 years. He was a member of the Hudson County and New Jersey Bar Associations. One of his significant cases was a suit against the City of Bayonne's ordinance preventing women from sitting at a bar in a restaurant or tavern. He successfully had the ordinance declared unconstitutional. Pat personified selflessness and was the person everyone went to for help in times of need. He was a practical man, giving the best advice, and was generous to a fault. He would help anyone who asked and never ask for anything in return. He was a dedicated husband and father to his three children and a role model for his five grandchildren.

Surviving are his wife, Tonita Sando Conaghan; three children, Susan McCusker and her husband, William of Westfield, N.J., Robert and his wife, Elizabeth of Palm Beach Gardens, Fl. and Megan Conaghan of Frederick, Md.; and five grandchildren: Patrick, Megan and Brigid McCusker and Brian and Caitlin Conaghan. He also leaves his sisters: Alice Luchino, Sally Kinsella, Anne Cook, Kathleen O'Donnell and Denise Conaghan; brothers-in-law, Francis Cook and John Breivogel; sister-in-law, Lore Conaghan; and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, Patrick and Alice Conaghan (nee Gibbons); his brother, John J. Conaghan; and his sister, Brigid Breivogel.

Family and friends are invited to attend a visitation on Wednesday, April 4, 2018, from 4 to 8 pm at O'Brien Funeral Home, 21028 Rte. 35, Wall, NJ 07719. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held 10:30 am at St. Catharine Church, 215 Essex Avenue, Spring Lake, N. J. 07762. In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to St. Peter's Prep, Office of Institutional Advancement, 144 Grand Street, Jersey City, N.J. 07302.
Published in Asbury Park Press on Apr. 1, 2018
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