McCAFFREY—Eugene J., Sr., Statesman and Devoted Family Man of Woodbury, NJ on April 24, 2010. Aged 79 years.
Gene is the beloved husband of 51 years to the late Joan M.; devoted father of Michele McCaffrey, The Honorable Eugene J. McCaffrey, Jr, and his wife Kathie, Kelly Anne Law and her husband, Christopher; loving grandfather of Brenna, Adam, Kaitlin, Patrick, Dara and Eugene J. McCaffrey III (Trip); loving brother of the late James McCaffrey.
A larger than life man of great humility; Gene proved himself as a dedicated and successful leader within his community. His family, however, was always paramount in his life.
He was born and raised in South Philadelphia and was a 1948 graduate of St. Joseph's Prep. Gene spent one year in the U.S. Navy and started his career at Royal Globe Insurance. He was recalled by the Navy during the Korean War and remained stateside as a firefighting instructor at the Philadelphia Navy Base.
Gene was Deptford's first elected mayor. He served as the county sheriff, and as a charter member of the county's "small" freeholder board. He served six years as freeholder director and later he served two five-year terms as surrogate. He served six years as county GOP chairman. Gene spent most of the 1980's in Trenton, serving as a cabinet member under Gov. Thomas H. Kean as commissioner of the NJ Department of Personnel.
With Kean still in office , McCaffrey became president of PATCO and executive officer of the Delaware River Port Authority in 1989. George H. W. Bush spoke at the first Gloucester County College commencement and the two became friends. In 1980 Gene became campaign manager for the State of NJ of the George H. Bush presidential campaign. It was Bush who appointed "Irish" Gene envoy to Ireland, resulting in Gene's 18 trips there in three years to oversee an international fund for the country. There was an unofficial 19th trip four years ago when he took the entire McCaffrey clan with him for 10 memorable days. Gene and the late Joan McCaffrey married in 1955 and a year later bought one of the first 50 homes in Oak Valley, where he served as second chairperson of the community association, managed baseball, was active in the swimming association, and was recruited to run for Deptford Township committee in 1957.
After being elected County Freeholder, Gene served as director during major developments: The opening of Gloucester County College (GCC) and Vo-Tech (GCIT), start of regional sewerage (GCMUA) and the Department on Aging. He proudly served on the Underwood-Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees for 28 years, and served as chair for three years. Gene was a founding member and board member of The Bank of Gloucester County until his retirement. He was also the co-founder of McCaffrey-Paul Insurance Agency. He also served for the last five years as an officer for the Philadelphia Beltline Commission. Gene was honored just last April by receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Gloucester County GOP.
A devoted Catholic, he was a long-time member of Saint Patrick's Church and in 1995 was inducted as a member of The Knights of Saint Gregory. As Gene once humbly summed it up: "It all happened to a guy from nowhere. And it's been a great trip."
Gene's family cordially invites you to his viewing Tuesday 4-8 PM and Wednesday 10-10:45 AM and Funeral Mass Wednesday 11 AM all in Holy Angel's Parish at Saint Patrick R. C. Church, 64 Cooper Street Woodbury, NJ 08096. Interment Wenonah Cemetery, Mantua, NJ.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to: Discovery Ministries, 106 Vesper Ave., Westmont, NJ 08108 or to First Way Life Center, 686 N. Broad St., Woodbury, NJ 08096. Tributes and memories may be shared by clicking the "share a memory" link.