Joseph F. Kavanaugh Jr.

Joseph F. Kavanaugh Jr.

AGE: 82 • Somerville

Joseph "Joe" Kavanaugh, Jr. was born in Bound Brook, NJ and raised in Somerville, NJ where he was a longtime resident before moving to Martinsville in 1981. He was a master plumber who served on the State Board of Examiners of Master Plumbers and for over 60 years owned and operated Kavanaugh Brothers Plumbing and Heating with his late brother Senator Walter J. Kavanaugh. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Joe was an active member of the Somerville Rescue Squad and received the honor of their Lifetime Achievement Award for over six decades of service and leadership. Joe progressed through the squad ranks holding almost every elected title. He went on to serve all the New Jersey squads at the state level with the New Jersey State First Aid Council. Joe served as the State Council's 5th District Vice-President from 1972-1976. In 1978 he was elected as the Central Area Vice-President until 1980. In 1981 and 1982 Joe became the President of the NJSFAC and was responsible for over 450 volunteer first and rescue squads in the State of New Jersey. Joe and his brother were instrumental in passing the legislation that led to the formation of the State Police Aeromedical Program that has saved countless lives over the past 25 years. The NJ First Aider license plates on the roads of NJ were an initiative of his as well. He led the "March on Trenton" that heralded the voice of the volunteer squads to the state capitol, believing that volunteer, not paid, service was a value in aiding and saving the lives of others. He continued on as NJSFAC Assistant Treasurer from 1984-1988. Joe was an exempt fireman with Lincoln Hose Co. #4 and also a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and Knights of Columbus. Joe's love of country, community and service was only second to his love of family. He blessed his wife, children, grandchildren and extended family with warmth, encouragement, laughter and unconditional love. His bright smile assured him that he would never meet a stranger. He was a living example of his motto, "Be a leader and not a follower." He was a quintessential gentleman and will be missed and fondly remembered by all who knew him.

He is predeceased by his wife JoAnn who died in 2009 and brother Senator Walter J. Kavanaugh. Surviving are his beloved children; daughter Colleen Kavanaugh, his sons Joseph F. III and Daniel and two grandsons of whom he was so proud, Sean and Parker.

Prayers will be 9am Tuesday at the Bruce C VanArsdale Funeral Home, 111 No. Gaston Ave. Somerville followed by a 10 am mass at Immaculate Conception Church, Somerville. Interment will follow at St. Bernard Cemetery in Bridgewater. Visitation will be 2-4pm & 7-9pm Monday at the funeral home. To follow his example of helping others, Joe would find it fitting that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Somerville Rescue Squad, 21 Park Ave., Somerville, NJ 08876. To send condolences to the family, visit

Funeral Home

Bruce C. VanArsdale Funeral Home
111 North Gaston Avenue Somerville, NJ 8876
(908) 725-3111

Published in Courier News from Oct. 12 to Oct. 13, 2013