Former Hawthorne Mayor Frederick J. Criscitelli died on Monday after a long battle with cancer. He was 83.
Criscitelli served as mayor from 1998 to 2005 and was part of one of the fiercest political wars in modern Passaic County Republican politics.
He entered politics in 1972 when he won a seat on the Hawthorne Board of Education. He was re-elected in 1975, 1978 and 1981. Criscitelli served on the Borough Council from 1992 to 1997.
Criscitelli was part of local government during the era of Louis Bay 2nd, a legendary political figure who was elected mayor in 1947 and served forty years before retiring in 1987. Bay was succeeded by Anthony Ross, who then lost his seat in 1993 to Paul Englehart, the brother of another political legend, Passaic County Sheriff Edwin Englehart.
In 1997, Criscitelli challenged Englehardt in the Republican primary and beat him. Englehardt then ran as a write-in candidate in the general election, where Criscitelli beat him for a second time. He was re-elected in 2001 but lost his bid for a third term in 2005 to Democrat Patrick Botbyl.
Funeral services will be held on October 8 at St. Anthony’s R.C. Church in Hawthorne.