Obituary of Gerald W. Tamburro
Due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, a Covid-safe drive through visitation will take place on Sunday, January 3, 2021, during the hours of 1:00pm to 4:00pm at the Monroe Twp. Senior Center, 12 Halsey Reed Rd., Monroe Twp., NJ 08831. Mayor Tamburro's body will lie in repose and his family will be present to greet visitors outdoors. We kindly ask that you stay in your vehicle at all times and obey official instruction upon arrival. Thank You.
Plans for a future memorial service will be announced at a later time.
In lieu of flowers please consider a donation in the name of Mayor Tamburro to the Monroe Township Library Foundation, 4 Municipal Plaza, Monroe Township NJ 08831.
Mayor Gerald W. Tamburro, who served in elected office in Monroe for 19 years and dedicated decades of his life to public service, passed away peacefully on Thursday, December 31, surrounded by family. He was 84 years old.
Mayor Tamburro, always service-oriented, prepared and loyal to his community, was elected as second-ward councilman in November 2001. He went on to serve as council president for eight years before being elected mayor in 2015 and re-elected in 2019.
“Mayor Tamburro was a tireless and passionate advocate for Monroe Township residents and served the township with love and pride,” said Council President Miriam Cohen, noting municipal flags are being flown at half-staff for seven days to honor the late mayor and his decades of service.
Mayor Tamburro – always well-dressed in a suit, tie and polished shoes – became involved in public life shortly after moving to the Greenbriar adult community in 1997.
Born in Newark, Mayor Tamburro grew up in Nutley, the oldest child of Henry and Mary Tamburro. Henry worked at New Jersey Office Supply; Mary was a homemaker. Mayor Tamburro has a younger sister, Carol, now of Boca Raton.
Henry Tamburro passed away on New Year’s Eve – 47 years ago today.
Mayor Tamburro joined the U.S. Army in 1957 and was discharged in August 1964. He attended Seton Hall University, where he earned a degree in banking. He attended college with his childhood pal from Nutley, the late Paul Lubertazzi. Together, they landed their first banking jobs at Boonton National Bank in the 1960s.
They also married sisters. Mayor Tamburro married Carole, while Lubertazzi married her younger sister, the late Barbara Lubertazzi. The extended family remained tight their entire lives.
As Mayor Tamburro’s family and career grew, they moved from Rockaway in 1964 to Montville, and then to East Brunswick in 1972.
Mayor Tamburro had a signature line: “Let me tell you a story…” And it would sometimes end with the mayor sharing the details of a 1975 road trip to Florida in the family’s 1969 Plymouth nine-passenger, wood-paneled station wagon, with no air conditioning.
“There were six kids, my parents and all of us driving around Florida in the summer heat,” recalls Gerald Tamburro, the mayor’s oldest son. “We’re driving from the east coast to the west coast, stopping in Disney. We are sticking to these black vinyl seats, with the back seat facing backward, the back window cranked open and the car exhaust blowing in our faces.
“We survived,” Tamburro said, with a laugh. “And we are still talking about it.”
Tamburro said his father took immense pride in the family, and found his greatest joy when they were all together.
“My dad had many titles throughout his life, with many accomplishments,” Tamburro said. “But I will forever remember him as being `Dad’ to me, and `Uncle Jerry’ to his many nieces and nephews. He was not one of those guys who would disappear on weekends to play golf. He was always there, at Little League, at scouting, at ballet recitals, at graduation, at school plays. My dad never gave me a lot of advice. He led by example. That was all he needed to do.”
Mayor Tamburro served as vice president of commercial lending for the National State Bank of Elizabeth and as president of a community bank in New Jersey. Tamburro also earned a graduate degree from the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers University.
Mayor Tamburro was married for 60 years to the late Carole (Lombardo) Tamburro. They raised six children in a seven-bedroom home in East Brunswick. The couple moved to Monroe in 1997 in retirement.
When Mrs. Tamburro passed away May 28, 2019, Mayor Tamburro shared his own love story with the community, saying he fell in love early and was married at 23 – the couple’s sole possession at the time was a Hi-Fi phonograph. “From there, we somehow built an incredible life together,” Mayor Tamburro recalled, at the time, noting her delicious scruffoli cookies.
Mayor Tamburro particularly loved the holidays; it was the perfect time to be with extended family. Christmas would bring together a family of more than 50 people, in which Mayor Tamburro would be surrounded by nine grandchildren, countless nieces and nephews, and three great-grandchildren.
“It was a blessing beyond words to see,” the mayor had said.
Mayor Tamburro will be remembered for his signature holiday toast, in which he would point to each and every person in the room to underscore their importance. The toast originated from his father-in-law, Anthony Lombardo, a World War I veteran who lived to 101.
It said, in part:
“Good health to all who’ve gathered here;
That’s you … and you…. And you…
To loyal friends and comrades dear;
That’s you .. and you…and you…
But most of all, a thousand friends.
Like you…and you…and you.”
Mayor Tamburro often spoke of his years of military service and its lasting effect. He still kept his old Army-issued foot locker, where he stored his shoe polish. He valued and honored all veterans and made it a point to personally thank veterans whenever possible.
His close friend was former Monroe Mayor Richard Pucci, who always appreciated Mayor Tamburro’s intelligence, extreme punctuality and focus on serving the community at-large.
“There was not a day when we wouldn’t speak,” Pucci recalled. “We had an outstanding, open-door relationship. Jerry was very special to me. He was a great public servant, and with his career in banking, he was very detail-orientated, especially when it came to finances. His advice was exceptional. He kept a close watch over the town, with plenty of integrity, which is what you need to do as mayor.”
Mayor Tamburro is survived by his two sons: Gerald Tamburro, Jr. and his wife June of Bridgewater and Peter Tamburro and his wife Alba of Monroe Twp. He has four daughters: Jo-Ellen Schmidt of Shallotte, NC, Susan Kinsey and her husband Kevin of San Juan Capistrano, CA, Lynn Manza of East Stroudsburg, PA and Cynthia Lombardi of Robbinsville.
He is also survived by a sister-in-law, Dolores Stanek of Little Falls, nine grandchildren: Kristen Tamburro, Jayme Schmidt, Alex Schmidt, Johnny Tamburro, Grant Kinsey, Olivia Lombardi, Marissa Manza, Caroline Kinsey and Joseph Manza, as well as three great-grandchildren: Acacia, Benjamin and Cayden.
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