American Veteran 04

Edward Meehan

Edward Meehan Obituary

Always a gentleman,
Edward C. Meehan, 86, a lifelong resident of Jersey City passed away at his residence. He worked as an aide to the Chief Justice of the Jersey City Municipal Court before retiring some years ago. He was a graduate of William L. Dickinson High School, Jersey City Junior College and George Washington University in VA. He served in the National Guard and was a long time member of the Old Guard in NY.

He was a member of a number of civic and philanthropic organizations. He served as President of the George Washington Commemorative Society, the Lincoln Association of Jersey City est. 1865 of which he was a past president and current secretary of the University Club of Hudson County est. 1897 where he distinguished himself as a guest speaker, and was Financial Secretary of Division 2 of the New York County Board of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.

Ed was a historian particularly of New Jersey political events and of his beloved Jersey City. Ed could tell you
stories about all the Jersey City politicians from the first Mayor in 1838, Dudley Sanford Gregory, to Mayors
Hague, Eggers, the ‘little Guy” John V. Kenny, Witkowski, Gangemi, Whalen, Smith right up to our present
Mayor Steven Fulop. Ed did not have a cell phone nor a computer. Ed was historically a human google site. His
mind was so keen and amazing.

Two of my favorite stories which Ed told were about Mayors Frank Hague and Mayor Thomas Gangemi. The
first Story was about TJ Tumulty and Frank “I am the law” Hague. TJ Tumulty was a brilliant lawyer who
served in the Army, the NJ State Assembly, and the United States Congress among others. Ed told me that
when Tumulty came out of the Army he weighed 300 pounds. Ed quoted, TJ as saying: “he went in the Army
as a private and came out as a platoon.” Another story Ed told me again was about Tumulty and Hague: Mr.
Tumulty's entry into politics, after graduating from law school, was when he began showing up at Jersey City
Council meetings and bedeviling Mayor Frank Hague by attacking the bloated city budget. Hague tried
everything to quiet the brash newcomer. He even had a woman step forward to announce that she had been
Mr. Tumulty's nursemaid and told how he had been dropped on his head as a child and had not been quite
right since. But Mr. Tumulty kept up his attacks until Mr. Hague called him into his office one day and asked
what he had against the budget. ''Just one thing, Your Honor,'' Mr. Tumulty replied. ''I'm not in it.'' He soon
became an assistant Corporation Counsel. 

Another of Ed’s stories dealt with the downfall of Mayor Thomas Gangemi
There was a tavern called the “Office Bar” in Journal Square, Two former newspaper reporters
Thomas Lally and Eugene Scanlon were in charge of public relations for Mayor Gangemi, they were
having a few drinks when the thought occurred, “we should have a St. Patrick Parade in Jersey City.
They presented the idea to the mayor and he liked the idea very much. They thought they should
have a grand marshal of the parade from Ireland. They called the Dublin police station and the
phone was answered by Sgt. PJ Kenny. They asked Kenny if he knew of anyone who would like to
come to America to be in our parade. Kenny could not think of anyone so they asked him if he
would like to come. Kenny said yes and came to the U.S. The parade was a big success and Sgt.
Kenny became the toast of the town. The parade was such a success that Mayor Gangemi decided to
have a Columbus Day parade but said he would personally go to Italy to select the Grand Marshall.
The Mayor went to get his passport and it was discovered he was not a citizen of the United States,
shortly after, the Justice Department revealed that Gangemi was not a U.S. citizen, leading to his immediate resignation as Mayor of Jersey City. The parade went on as scheduled and with PJ Kenny returning to Jersey City as the Grand Marshal.

When sitting next to Ed under our canopy and representing the Lincoln Association of Jersey City
for “ Bergen Square Day”, an annual event, our station was on Bergen Ave. in front of the post office
which was originally the Oyster Bay restaurant. We talked about all of the restaurants in the Square
area which are now long gone- The Blue Piano, The Hotel Plaza, Pete and Dominick’s, Robinson’s
Chop House, The Jade Fountain, The Canton Tea Garden, the China Clipper, the four movie theaters,
Journal Square with its Lights ablaze and the newspaper stands which sold the Sunday papers on
Saturday Night. Ed knew all of the events at the Square, Hague’s political rallies, JFK’s visit to
Journal Square and his motorcade passing by the statue of Peter Stuyvesant in front of the old three
storied PS11 elementary school.

Someone once said, “All Ed needed was to have one person for an audience.”
Edward C. Meehan had a front row seat on a slice of New Jersey history that is a prologue to the
present. His ability to put flesh on the people and places in our history should have been recorded
before he passed on. Unfortunately, we missed a golden opportunity.

Edward is predeceased by his parents, Margaret and Edward Meehan and his sister, Carol. He leaves behind a maternal cousin, Gail Opacity, of Cranford. 

A Memorial Mass will be held at St. Joseph’s Church, 511 Pavonia Ave., Jersey City on Wednesday, February 28, 2024
at 10:00am.

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Funeral Mass
February 28, 2024

10:00 AM
St. Joseph's Church
511 Pavonia Avenue
Jersey City, NJ 07306


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