Susan Tisiker, a hugely influential and popular player in New Jersey politics for more than 40 years, died on Thursday. She was 78.
Tisiker has spent the last two decades as chief of staff to State Sen. Samuel Thompson (R-Old Bridge).
She began her political career in 1979, winning a seat on the East Brunswick Republican county committee. Tisiker was a Republican candidate for township council in 1982. She was the top GOP vote-getter but lost to Democrat Michael Baker by about 1,200 votes.
In 1985, Tisiker was elected East Brunswick GOP Municipal Chair after defeating Councilman Russell Walker in a landslide 44-13 vote after incumbent Rod Kulp declined to seek re-election. She had served as vice chair for four years.
The following year, Tisiker married Donald Katz, who had served as Republican municipal chairman of Perth Amboy and later Woodbridge vice chairman. They met in 1979 when Katz ran for Middlesex County Republican Chairman. Katz ultimately gave up his own post in Woodbridge and moved to East Brunswick.
Tisiker served as a commissioner of the Middlesex County Board of Elections, as a chair of the East Brunswick Zoning Board, and spent a decade as the president of the Middlesex County Women’s Republican Club. She also served as president of the East Brunswick Regional Chamber of Commerce.
In addition to her husband, a longtime Republican state committeeman from Middlesex County, Tisiker is survived by her brother, Michael, her sister, Anne, and sister-in-law Audrey.
Services will be private due to Covid. Contributions in honor of Tisiker can be made to the Monmouth Council of the Boy Scouts of America, 705 Ginesi Drive, Morganville.