In Memoriam: Maplewood & South Orange Neighbors We Lost in 2015

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As the year draws to a close, we are reminded of those whom we loved and lost during the past 12 months. Maplewood and South Orange collectively mourned for these friends and neighbors and will carry their memories into the new year.

Obituary: Mary Cryan, Democratic District Leader, Passes Away

Mary Cryan, Democratic district leader, supporter of Irish organizations and matriarch of the family that owned Cryan’s Beef and Ale House in South Orange, passed away on January 12. (Read more.)

Christopher ‘Kit’ Carson, Maplewoodian and Limbaugh Chief of Staff, Passes Away

Christopher “Kit” Carson, a Maplewood resident and father of two who served for 27 years as Rush Limbaugh’s Chief of Staff, passed away in January at the age of 56. Carson died at his home in Maplewood, according to an obituary in the Star-Ledger. (Read more here and here.)

Laura Grace Stammers Nichols: A Life Well and Truly Lived

The passing of Laura Grace Stammers Nichols, who died suddenly in April at the age of 53, left many in South Orange and Maplewood reeling. Laura had become a familiar presence to many through her restaurant and catering business, Blue Plate Special in South Orange and through her community involvement and her three children. (Read more here, here and here.)

‘Maplewood Will Never be the Same’: Angelo Vayas Remembered by Community

The death in May of longtime Maplewood resident, business owner, philanthropist, husband and father Angelo Vayas touched and saddened many locals. The owner of the Village Trattoria restaurants, Vayas was not only a greatly admired merchant but also a cherished member of the Maplewood and South Orange community. (Read more here, here and here.)

Longtime SOMA Resident Alan Caruba Passes Away at 77

Alan Caruba, public relations consultant, journalist, book reviewer and daily blogger known for his conservative views on public policy, passed away at his South Orange home on June 15 at age 77. Caruba lived in Maplewood for 62 years before moving to South Orange in 2004. He was a founding member of the National Book Critics Circle and a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Society of Professional Journalists. (Read more.)

Mary Connor, Former Pres. of S. Orange Rescue Squad, Passes Away

Longtime South Orange resident and volunteer Mary L. Connor died at home on July 17. She was 82. Connor held numerous offices in the South Orange Rescue Squad, including president and captain, and was the first lioness in the South Orange Lions Club. (Read more here and here.)

Bright Light to Many, Marcia Worth-Baker is Remembered

The South Orange/Maplewood and surrounding communities were grief-stricken by the news of the sudden passing of Marcia Worth-Baker on Sept. 13. An educator, journalist, historian, coupon queen, New York Times blogger, cancer survivor, active community and school volunteer, Zumba lover, swap meet fan, and most importantly, wife and mother of three, Marcia touched many lives in her nearly 49 years of life. (Read more here and here.)

Seth Boyden Community to Honor Beloved Educator Joanne Jacques-Montilus

The Seth Boyden School community remembered educator Joanne Jacques-Montilus at the Two Towns 5K Turkey Trot on Saturday, November 21. Mrs. Montilus — as she was known to her students — succumbed to complications related to her 12-year battle with breast cancer this past September. (Read more.)

Services Announced for Lawrence Mancuso, Man Found in Brook Behind Maplewood Library

Lawrence Mancuso, 61, grew up in and lived in South Orange. A self-employed building inspector, Mancuso was a parishioner at Our Lady of Sorrows Church (and a frequent volunteer at the church’s food bank and other causes), and a member of the South Orange Elks. He is survived by his mother, and a brother and sister. (Read more.)

Jeffrey Nelson of Maplewood — Jeffrey Nelson was an editor, writer, producer, director, actor, husband, father, who died on November 14, 2015, after a long illness. Nelson was the producer of the film The Return of the Secaucus Seven, written and directed by John Sayles, who said it was Nelson who suggested he shoot his first movie in North Conway, NH, where they were both members of a summer theater company. Nelson made a cameo appearance as “The Man” in that film. (Read more.)

Robin Fray Carey, formerly of Maplewood/South Orange — Robin Carey was the first to start an online site dedicated to bringing together the voices of those who cared about advancing digital impact. In 2007, she founded Social Media Today, LLC, a suite of B2B communities that connected large organizations with people they wanted to influence. She started her career in traditional media and saw the potential for digital engagement to change the nature of relationships between buyers and sellers – well before it was apparent to most anyone else. (Read more.)

Seth Hamblin of South Orange — Hamblin, 46, a deputy editor for the Wall Street Journal, collapsed and died of a heart attack near the finish line of a 5K race in Morris Township in November. Hamblin expanded the use of interactive graphics and multimedia at the Wall Street Journal, was a California native and University of Missouri journalism graduate. Hamblin and his wife resided in South Orange, where he became an avid gardener. (Read more.)

Nancy Roman Slosberg of Maplewood — Nancy passed away in October at the young age of 35. She died after battling brain cancer for two years. She left behind her beloved two year old son, Hunter, and the love of her life, her husband Mark. She was full of life, love, humor, hope, compassion, and gratitude every day until the day she passed. She was adored by all that knew her and is deeply missed. — contributed by Nancy’s friend Michelle Brock (there is also a GoFundMe page for Nancy’s son Hunter here)

Melissa Rice Moss — Our community has suffered the unexpected loss of another beautiful young soul. Melissa Rice Maus passed December 27. She was 42, a loved wife and mother to two beautiful young boys who attend Clinton School. Melissa was raised in the Maplewood/South Orange area since she was a little girl. She had a beautiful spirit and was adored by her friends and family.
Condolences to her friends and family. For those of you asking where or how to help the family, visit here.

[Editor’s Note: The loss of a loved one is a devastating event and we fear the upset that the omission of any community member could cause. Please let us know if we have failed to memorialize anyone. Contact us at]

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