In memory of
Thomas F. Kelaher
In memory of
Thomas F. Kelaher
Thomas F. Kelaher Loving family man; former Toms River mayor; prosecutor recognized for his 'life of service to community, church and country' Thomas F. Kelaher of Toms River, N.J., passed away peacefully, surrounded by his loving family, after a brief illness at the age of 88. Tom was born in Jersey City in 1932. His father worked for the Milwaukee Road Railroad Company and moved the family to Buffalo, N.Y., where Tom spent a good part of his childhood. While there, Tom worked as a paperboy, was active in the Scouts and volunteered with the Civil Defense during World War II. The family returned to Jersey City where Tom attended Saint Peter's Prep. After graduating high school, Tom enlisted in the Marine Corps PLC program in 1951 and studied at Saint Peter's College. While in college, he served in the Marine Corps Reserve and worked as a newspaper photographer for The Hudson Dispatch. While on active duty, he was stationed at Camp Pendleton and later at Lakehurst Naval Air Station where he met the love of his life, Caroline Finley, of Toms River. Tom and Carol married in 1958 at Saint Joseph's Church. Tom and Carol moved to West Orange where Carol worked as a school teacher and helped put Tom through Seton Hall Law School. After graduation, Governor Richard J. Hughes appointed Tom the Deputy Attorney General for the state of New Jersey. Tom and Carol moved back to Toms River where he joined the law firm of Herring Grasso and Gelzer and worked as the Assistant Ocean County Prosecutor. Tom relished his time with the prosecutor's office in the late 60s and early 70s and often spoke about returning one day. Tom's Jesuit education and time in the Marine Corps would come to define his life of service to his community, his church and his country. He followed in the footsteps of his father-in-law, Joseph W. Finley, and became very active in the growth of Community Medical Center where he was on the board of trustees from 1975 to 2000 and served as Chairman for 14 years. He was Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Barnabas Healthcare System and Chairman of the Board of Clara Maass Medical Center and in May 1998, he was named Hospital Trustee of the Year. Tom devoted a great deal of his energies to Saint Joseph's Church and was very active in the Century Club and Catholic Charities. He served as Trustee, Lector and Eucharistic Minister at St. Joseph's for over 50 years. He was recognized at Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York by Cardinal John Egan and was installed as a Knight of the Holy Sepulcher. Tom was dedicated to local and state law-enforcement. He taught at the Ocean County Police Academy for over 30 years where he developed life-long friendships over generations of police officers and departments in the county. Throughout his successful career in private practice, he also worked as the prosecutor and township attorney for several local municipalities before finally returning to his dream job as the Ocean County Prosecutor in 2002. Tom loved his time spent with the investigators, detectives, prosecutors and all of the dedicated staff at the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office. After stepping down from his position with the Prosecutor's Office, Tom, for the first time, ran for office. In 2007, Tom was elected Mayor of Toms River and went on to serve three terms and continued his lifelong mission of service to others. Tom delighted in his involvement with town hall and all the people that worked there as well as the members of our volunteer fire departments, EMTs and other government service people that shared his commitment to serving our community. In recognition of Tom's public service, he was named Man of the Year by the Ocean County Police Chiefs Association, Toms River Rotary Club, Toms River B'Nai B'rith, the Ocean County Chamber of Commerce, The Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick of the Jersey Shore, and was also recognized with the Brotherhood Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews. Tom is survived by his wife of almost 63 years, Carol, and their four children: Patty Thompson (DrewThompson), Nancy Larrain (Santiago Larrain), John Kelaher (Chelle Kelaher), and Mike Kelaher (Regan Kelaher). He will be remembered as beloved Pop Pop to his eight grandchildren: Danny and Alex Thompson, Miguel and Tomas Larrain, Finley and Glenn Kelaher, and Quentin and James Kelaher. Tom will be laid to rest at St. Joseph's Cemetery. Funeral services will be held privately with Tom's family. A service to celebrate Tom's Life will be announced at a later date. The family would like to thank the staff and nurses of Community Medical Center for their loving care and support throughout Tom's illness. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Toms River Field of Dreams at https://tomsriverfieldofdreams.com/ Family and friends may visit andersonandcampbell.com to leave condolences to his family.
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Services Provided By
Anderson & Campbell Funeral Home
703 Main Street
Toms River, NJ 08753
In memory of
Thomas F. Kelaher
Thomas F. Kelaher Loving family man; former Toms River mayor; prosecutor recognized for his 'life of service to community, church and country' Thomas F. Kelaher of Toms River, N.J., passed away peacefully, surrounded by his loving family, after a brief illness at the age of 88. Tom was born in Jersey City in 1932. His father worked for the Milwaukee Road Railroad Company and moved the family to Buffalo, N.Y., where Tom spent a good part of his childhood. While there, Tom worked as a paperboy, was active in the Scouts and volunteered with the Civil Defense during World War II. The family returned to Jersey City where Tom attended Saint Peter's Prep. After graduating high school, Tom enlisted in the Marine Corps PLC program in 1951 and studied at Saint Peter's College. While in college, he served in the Marine Corps Reserve and worked as a newspaper photographer for The Hudson Dispatch. While on active duty, he was stationed at Camp Pendleton and later at Lakehurst Naval Air Station where he met the love of his life, Caroline Finley, of Toms River. Tom and Carol married in 1958 at Saint Joseph's Church. Tom and Carol moved to West Orange where Carol worked as a school teacher and helped put Tom through Seton Hall Law School. After graduation, Governor Richard J. Hughes appointed Tom the Deputy Attorney General for the state of New Jersey. Tom and Carol moved back to Toms River where he joined the law firm of Herring Grasso and Gelzer and worked as the Assistant Ocean County Prosecutor. Tom relished his time with the prosecutor's office in the late 60s and early 70s and often spoke about returning one day. Tom's Jesuit education and time in the Marine Corps would come to define his life of service to his community, his church and his country. He followed in the footsteps of his father-in-law, Joseph W. Finley, and became very active in the growth of Community Medical Center where he was on the board of trustees from 1975 to 2000 and served as Chairman for 14 years. He was Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Barnabas Healthcare System and Chairman of the Board of Clara Maass Medical Center and in May 1998, he was named Hospital Trustee of the Year. Tom devoted a great deal of his energies to Saint Joseph's Church and was very active in the Century Club and Catholic Charities. He served as Trustee, Lector and Eucharistic Minister at St. Joseph's for over 50 years. He was recognized at Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York by Cardinal John Egan and was installed as a Knight of the Holy Sepulcher. Tom was dedicated to local and state law-enforcement. He taught at the Ocean County Police Academy for over 30 years where he developed life-long friendships over generations of police officers and departments in the county. Throughout his successful career in private practice, he also worked as the prosecutor and township attorney for several local municipalities before finally returning to his dream job as the Ocean County Prosecutor in 2002. Tom loved his time spent with the investigators, detectives, prosecutors and all of the dedicated staff at the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office. After stepping down from his position with the Prosecutor's Office, Tom, for the first time, ran for office. In 2007, Tom was elected Mayor of Toms River and went on to serve three terms and continued his lifelong mission of service to others. Tom delighted in his involvement with town hall and all the people that worked there as well as the members of our volunteer fire departments, EMTs and other government service people that shared his commitment to serving our community. In recognition of Tom's public service, he was named Man of the Year by the Ocean County Police Chiefs Association, Toms River Rotary Club, Toms River B'Nai B'rith, the Ocean County Chamber of Commerce, The Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick of the Jersey Shore, and was also recognized with the Brotherhood Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews. Tom is survived by his wife of almost 63 years, Carol, and their four children: Patty Thompson (DrewThompson), Nancy Larrain (Santiago Larrain), John Kelaher (Chelle Kelaher), and Mike Kelaher (Regan Kelaher). He will be remembered as beloved Pop Pop to his eight grandchildren: Danny and Alex Thompson, Miguel and Tomas Larrain, Finley and Glenn Kelaher, and Quentin and James Kelaher. Tom will be laid to rest at St. Joseph's Cemetery. Funeral services will be held privately with Tom's family. A service to celebrate Tom's Life will be announced at a later date. The family would like to thank the staff and nurses of Community Medical Center for their loving care and support throughout Tom's illness. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Toms River Field of Dreams at https://tomsriverfieldofdreams.com/ Family and friends may visit andersonandcampbell.com to leave condolences to his family.
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Services Provided By
Anderson & Campbell Funeral Home
703 Main Street
Toms River, NJ 08753
888-303-5240 Need help ordering?
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