A former NBA basketball player who towered over the Bergen County politics landscape, legendary Cliffside Park Mayor Gerald Calabrese has died.
He was 90.
“Mayor Gerald Calabrese is an iconic figure who dedicated his life to public service,” Bergen County Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato said of the World War II veteran who was first elected to the Cliffside Park Borough Council in 1955.
“His 50 years in local government and distinction as the longest serving Mayor in the history of New Jersey, are unlikely to ever be surpassed,” he added. “During his time as a Bergen County Freeholder he presided of an institution that valued compromise over partisanship and progress over politics. It was the values and ideals of the Democratic Party that guided him in his public life and led to his election as Chairman of the Bergen County Democratic Committee. I am truly humbled to have followed in his footsteps. He is beloved by the people who knew him, especially the residents of Cliffside Park, and that is a testament to how great a man he was. It is a truly sad day for Bergen County.”
Reelected mayor in 1965, Mr. Calabrese became the state’s longest serving mayor in 2008. In January 2012, Calabrese assumed the oath of office for his 13th term as the borough’s mayor.