Kenneth C. Chmielewski, a decorated Korean War veteran who served as the Hudson County Register of Deeds and Mortgages, has died. He was 89.
Chmielewski was elected register in 1986 after Hudson Democrats declined to endorse incumbent Morris Longo for re-election. Longo had backed Jersey City Mayor Gerald McCann in his unsuccessful re-election campaign against Anthony Cucci in 1985.
In the 1985 general, with popular Gov. Thomas Kean heading the GOP ticket, some Republicans were optimistic that their candidate for register, Kearny Mayor Henry Hill, could win. While Kean carried Hudson and swept in four Republican assemblymen, his coattails didn’t extend to the county races. Chmielewski defeated Hill with 64% of the vote.
Chmielewski was easily re-elected in 1991 over Republican Diane Krajewski.
He did not seek re-election to a third term in 1996 when Democrats picked Barbara Donnelly as their candidate.
Prior to his election as register, Chmielewski served on the Bayonne Board of Education.
He was a U.S. Army sergeant who was awarded three Bronze Stars, the United States Service Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.
“He was a good friend and an outstanding member of the Bayonne community,” said Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis. “Ken was a lively presence at numerous civic events and represented Bayonne with distinction in county government.”
Chmielewski is survived by wife of 68 years, Lorraine, his two children, and two grandchildren.