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Anthony J. Persichilli, the longest serving mayor in Pennington history and the husband of New Jersey Commissioner of Health-designate Judy Persichilli, died on July 24 after complications from a fall. He was 76.
After spending 31 years at AT&T and five years as vice president of human resources at Prudential Financial, Persichilli entered politics as a candidate for the Pennington Borough Council in 2004.
Persichilli was elected mayor in 2006 following the resignation of James Loper. He defeated Republican James Benton by a wide margin.
He won a full term as mayor in 2007 against Republican Richard Butterfoss. Persichilli was unopposed for re-election in 2011 and again in 2015.
Following eleven years as mayor, Persichilli retired as mayor at the end of 2017 and was succeeded by Councilman Joseph Lawver.
Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin said that Persichilli was “known as a consensus builder and staunch advocate for his constituents.”
“As Pennington’s longest-serving mayor, he was more than a fixture in his community, he was recognized and respected by all for his steady leadership and focus on preserving one of the state’s true small downtown gems, said Gov. Phil Murphy. “I was honored to have Tony with us when we announced our intention to nominate Judy as our next Commissioner of the Department of Health, and I know he took as much pride in Judy’s career of service as she did in his.”
Murphy praised Persichelli’s career.
“Tony was not one to sit on the sidelines, even coming out of professional retirement to take on new challenges. He had a tremendous gift for service, and Pennington, Mercer County, and our state have all benefitted from his example,” Murphy said. “Tammy and I send our deepest heartfelt condolences to Judy and their entire extended family, as well as all who called Tony a friend — which is many.”
Born in Trenton, he grew up in Ewing where he was Class President for the Ewing High School Class of 1961. He received his B.A. and M.A. from Rider University.
In recognition of his service and generosity, Persichilli received the Mercer County Light of Hope award from Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton in 2013, and the Spirit of St. Francis Award from St. Francis Medical Center in 2014.
In addition to his wife, who was recently nominated by Gov. Phil Murphy to become the first nurse to head the New Jersey Department of Health, Persichilli is survived by his sister and brother and their families.
A Mass of Christian Burial in celebrate of Persichilli life will be held at 11 AM Monday at St. James Church in Pennington. Visitation will be held at the church on Sunday from 3-7 PM and Monday from 9:30-10:30 AM. In lieu of flowers, the Persichilli family requests that contributions in the late mayor’s memory be made to St. Francis Medical Center Foundation.
This story was updated at 9:53 AM to include comment from Coughlin and at 1:35 PM to include comment from Murphy.