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Former Passaic County Freeholder Anthony Ross

Tony Ross, ex-Passaic freeholder, dies at 89

Later served as mayor of Hawthorne

By David Wildstein, June 08 2019 3:27 pm

Anthony Ross, a former Passaic County freeholder and mayor of Hawthorne, died on June 5.  He was 89.

Ross was the top vote-getter on a Republican ticket that rode Gov. Tom Kean’s coattails to take control of the freeholder board.

The GOP picked up two seats that year – Ross and John Morley – giving them a 5-2 majority.  The unseated two Democratic incumbents, Gregory Komeshok and William Pirrone, but by nearly 7,000 votes.

A third Democratic freeholder, James Roe, held his seat by around 2,000 votes against Republican Robert Angele.  Roe was the brother of Bob Roe, a popular congressman.

Ross began his political career in local government as chairman of the Hawthorne Planning Board before winning two races for borough commission.

He stepped down from his freeholder seat in 1988 to take a $68,000-a-year job as executive director of the Passaic County Utilities Authority.  The Passaic County Republican chairman, Red Murphy (the father of current GOP chairman Peter Murphy), helped get Roe out of the ’88 race by giving him a $60,000-a-year job at the same authority.

Ross 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 Ross, who then lost his seat in 1993 to Paul Englehart, the brother of another political legend, Passaic County Sheriff Edwin Englehart.

After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War, Ross worked as an executive for American Cyanamid.

Ross is survived by his three daughters, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be held on Sunday from 4-8 PM and on Monday from 10-11 AM at the D’Elia Funeral Home in Lakewood.  Funeral services will be at 11 AM Monday that D’Elia.

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