Flags in Ocean County to fly at half-staff in memory of former Toms River Mayor Tom Kelaher
Flags will be flown at half-staff for the next week starting Friday across Ocean County government buildings in memory of former Ocean County Prosecutor and Toms River Mayor Tom Kelaher, who passed away this past Sunday at the age of 88.
Kelaher dedicated his life to serving others, whether it be with the U.S. Military, Ocean County Prosecutors Office, as Toms River Mayor, as a parishioner at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church and as a husband, father and grandfather.
He truly had a heart of gold and an infectious smile.
As the Toms River and Ocean County communities continue to mourn his passing and celebrate his life and all the gifts he gave, the Ocean County Board of Commissioners has announced that flags will be flown at half-staff in his honor.
“His legacy will carry on for years to come,” Ocean County Commissioner Director Gary Quinn said during the February 24 pre-board meeting and in a subsequent statement. “He was a man with a heart that genuinely cared about people. I want to extend our appreciation also to his wife Carol and his entire family who shared Tom with us for all of these years. His family truly supported his public service.”
Ocean County Commissioner John "Jack" Kelly, who is the Director of Law and Public Safety treasured the time he served with him when Kelaher was Ocean County Prosecutor from 2002 to 2007.
“He brought boundless energy and years of knowledge and professionalism to the office,” Kelly said in a statement. “He was caring and compassionate about the public he served. His work exemplified the definition of character. As Prosecutor, Kelaher cared about the victims of crime and was fair. He was a remarkable man that led a remarkable life.”
Kelaher spent 28-years serving in the United States Marines prior to becoming Assistant Prosecutor from 1968-1974, Ocean County Prosecutor from 2002-2006 and Toms River Mayor for 12 years from 2007 until the end of 2019.
“I will always cherish the longtime friendship I had with Tom Kelaher,” Ocean County Commissioner Joe Vicari said in a statement. “Our families go back many years. We followed similar paths. We are both from Jersey City and attended St. Peter’s College. Tom had a wonderful sense of humor. We miss you Tom Kelaher.”
Prior to his passing Kelaher in January announced he was running again to be a Republican State Committeeman alongside Ocean County Commissioner Ginny Haines.
“Tom was a great man who dedicated himself not only to the people of Toms River but also to the people of Ocean County while serving as Republican State Committeeman,” Haines said in a statement. “He will long be remembered for his great service and dedication.”
Commissioner Gerry Little, liaison to the Ocean County Veterans Services Bureau, remembers Kelaher’s military service from which he retired in 1979 as a lieutenant colonel.
“Tom Kelaher served our country with great pride,” Little said in a statement. “His far-reaching commitment to public service has left an indelible mark. Ocean County will truly miss Tom Kelaher.”
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