Morris County residents and officials are mourning the loss of longtime Morris County Freeholder Cecilia Laureys.
Laureys was also a Netcong Borough Councilwoman for decades.
She died on Sunday, July 7.
To her friend and colleagues, she was known as "Cissy."
According to her published obituary, Cecilia G. Laureys (nee Romano) of Netcong, a retired four-term Morris County freeholder and mother of 10 children, who was affectionately known as "Cissy" to family, friends and colleagues, died on Sunday, July 7, 2013, in Saint Clare's Hospital in Dover.
She was 81. Visitation will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Morgan Funeral Home, 31 Main St., Netcong. Although Mrs. Laureys was a parishioner of St. Michael's Church in Netcong, due to construction issues ongoing there, her Funeral Mass will be held instead at St. Theresa's Church, 151 Main St., Roxbury, this Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. Interment will follow at Stanhope Union Cemetery. Messages of condolence may be sent to www.netcongfuneral.com.
In 1987, Mrs. Laureys became the first woman ever elected to the Netcong Borough Council and was currently in her 25th year of service in that office. She lived her entire life in Netcong, where she raised a family of 10 children with her husband of nearly 25 years, Edward V. Laureys; he predeceased her. After receiving a bachelor's degree in history from the College of Saint Elizabeth in Convent Station, in 1952, Mrs. Laureys taught kindergarten and 5th grade for several years before opting to become a full-time homemaker following the birth of her first child, Edward J.; he predeceased her in October.
Even as her family grew, Mrs. Laureys volunteered her time to various non-profit enterprises. She established a faith-based grassroots organization called "Friends in Service of Humanity," or FISH, that helped to coordinate transportation for the sick, elderly and financially disadvantaged at a time when such services weren't readily provided by local government. In the 1960s, Mrs. Laureys' fourth-born child, Brian, was determined to have nonverbal autism. That diagnosis, which came at a time when very little was known about the condition, led Mrs. Laureys to become active in giving her time and talent to the Association for Retarded Citizens. Similarly, the need to be very "frugal" in managing a large household inspired Mrs. Laureys to become an avid proponent of conservation and recycling in the 1970s, long before such practices became official state policy. As a councilwoman, Mrs. Laureys was named Netcong's first recycling coordinator and went on to establish an award-winning program. In the late 1980s, her worries about the then-freeholder board's intention to build a mass-burn trash incinerator in close proximity to the water supply led her to become a vocal opponent of the plan. This became a major factor in Mrs. Laureys' decision to run for freeholder, an office she handily won in her first bid for it. During her tenure as freeholder, Mrs. Laureys championed improvement in county human services. Mrs. Laureys was predeceased by two sons, Edward V. and Brian M. Laureys; her husband, Edward V. Laureys, and her siblings, Estelle Guarini and Pasquale Romano Sr. She is survived by four sons, Ken and his wife, Liz, of Riverdale, Md.; Stephen and his wife, Lisa, of Hackettstown, Thomas of Netcong, and Christopher and his wife, Barbara, of Williamstown, ; four daughters, Kathy Clanton and her husband, Eric, of Portland, Ore.; Cecilia M. Laureys of Palm Springs, Calif.; Vincenia Annuzzi and her husband, Anthony, of Andover Township, and Margaret Laureys of Netcong, and her brother, Dominick Romano and his wife, Kathryn. She is also survived by 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. For those who wish, donations may be made in Mrs. Laurey's name to the Skylands Center Offering Autism Programs, Doctors Park Building, 3 Seber Road, Hackettstown, N.J. 07840.