Home>In Memoriam>John Cipriano, longtime Trenton city councilman, dies at 92

Former Trenton City Council President John Cipriano. (Photo: Hartmann Funeral Home).

John Cipriano, longtime Trenton city councilman, dies at 92

South Ward leader forced Holland into mayoral runoff in 1978

By David Wildstein, September 29 2021 2:36 pm

John R. Cipriano, a former Trenton City Council President and mayoral candidate, died on September 25.  He was 92.

Cipriano first ran for office in 1966, losing a South Ward city council race to George Pregg.  He ran again 1970 and ousted Pregg in a May non-partisan municipal election that was overshadowed by a mayoral race between incumbent Carmen Armenti and the former mayor he ousted in 1966, Arthur Holland.  Holland won the runoff and remained in office until his death in 1989.

He was re-elected in 1974 and later served as council president.

As a new councilman, Cipriano emerged as a leading opponent of a controversial school busing plan.  When a state appellate court refused to block the 1970 plan to bus Black and Hispanic students into schools in predominately white neighborhood, Cipriano pushed the city council to approve an ordinance that would stop it.

In 1978. Cipriano ran for mayor against Holland.  In the May election, Holland led Cipriano by a 45%-27% margin.  Holland won the June runoff by a 62%-38% margin.

Cipriano returned to the city council in 1986.  He was re-elected in 1990 but lost his seat to John Ungrady in 1994.

In 1998, he returned to local government after a successful bid for an at-large city council seat.  He didn’t seek re-election in 2002 and after briefly mulling a return in 2006, he decided to remain in retirement.

Cipriano made unsuccessful bids for Mercer County Freeholder as a Republican in 1985 and 1988.   He later returned to the Democratic Party.

In 2018, Cipriano endorsed Paul Perez for mayor in an unsuccessful runoff against then-Assemblyman Reed Gusciora.

He worked as an accountant for the New Jersey Department of Labor and Industry (now Labor and Workforce Development) for 37 years.

Cipriano was served in the U.S. Navy during the Korea War aboard the USS Yazoo.

He was predeceased in 2019 by his wife of 62 years, Lila, and is survived by three children and five grandchildren.

Spread the news: