by Jim Nicholson, Daily News Staff Writer
POSTED: June 21, 1994
GLOUCESTER CITY, NJ (June 21, 1994)--George F. Cleary Sr., the prototype of the weekly newspaper editor who loved the small town he served, died Sunday after battling Parkinson's Disease and diabetes. He was 80 and lived in Gloucester City, N.J.
Cleary was publisher and editor of the Gloucester City News from 1950 until he sold the paper to his son, William, and his wife Connie, in 1984. He also was the former publisher and editor of the Camden County Record and a former partner in Publishers Inc., a South Jersey printing company. From 1952 to 1963, Cleary and his wife of 62 years, the former Mazie Tucker, also owned and operated Cleary's Office Supplies in Gloucester City.
"I don't know anybody who loved this town more than George," said William D. Dilks, an attorney and longtime friend. "Anything that was for the betterment of the community he would get behind."
Dilks, who, like Cleary, is a former president of the local Lions Club, said once he and Cleary were on opposite sides of an urban renewal proposal, with Cleary in favor of it.
Dilks said that when Cleary argued for support of the proposal there were tears in his eyes. "He was Gloucester City's number one fan," said Dilks. ''Nobody loved this town more than George."
Walt Burrows, scholastic sports editor of the Courier Post newspaper, and an associate of Cleary's in the 1950s and 1960s, said, "He was a very fair person and a very knowledgeable person who was dedicated to the city of Gloucester. He was a very good friend to both of the high schools."
Bill Cleary said that "from the time I was 10 years old I followed my father around watching him work on the newspaper. It seemed from then on all I wanted to do was grow up and be a reporter like him.
"Eventually, I went to work for my Dad around 1967. As my boss, he was tough, more so it seemed than on the others. Although I may have resented it then, I'm thankful now. I've been able to run the family business successfully
because of the knowledge he gave me."
Cleary had definite opinions. He could lose his temper and raise his voice, but then the matter was over and forgotten. Throughout his stewardship of the paper, his right arm, bookkeeper and confidante was his wife, said Bill Cleary.
Young Cleary said his father loved his family and each year would rent a summer house at Stone Harbor, N.J., and open it up to the extended family. He added that his father also "loved this town, and it was mutual."
Cleary was born in Camden. He and his family moved to Gloucester in 1924. He attended Gloucester Catholic High School and graduated from Camden Commercial College in Camden.
He went to work in the office at Eavenson and Levering in Camden and also attended Philadelphia College of Textiles. After 18 years with the company, it
went out of business and he found a job with the Gloucester City News in 1948. Two years later, he and his wife bought the paper.
He served on the board of education from 1949 to 1954 and was a former member of the Gloucester City Mustangs Sports Club. He was active in Republican politics in the mid-1940s and made one run for city council.
In 1966, the Gloucester Jaycees named him Man of the Year. From 1949 to 1991 he belonged to the Gloucester City Lions Club and served as King Lion in 1973 and 1974.
He was an active parishioner of St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church and was a Third Degree member of the Knights of Columbus Council 674. He also was an honorary fireman.
Survivors also include a daughter, Dolores Raube; another son, George F. Cleary Jr.; 12 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his brother James F. Cleary; parents George and Catherine M.Cleary.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Thursday at St. Mary's Church, Monmouth and Atlantic streets, Gloucester City, where friends may call 90 minutes before the service. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery, Route 70, Cherry Hill.
Friends may also call between 7 and 9 tomorrow night at the McCann Funeral Home, 851 Monmouth St., Gloucester City.
Contributions may be made to St. Mary's Church Special Fund, 426 Monmouth St., Gloucester City, N.J. 08030.
gloucestercitynews.net | March 16, 2019