FARMINGDALE – Michael J. Romano, 77, who had been serving as president of the Borough Council in Farmingdale, died on May 15 at Meridian Health Care in Wall Township.
Romano was a native of Bayonne. He and his wife, Adelaide, started their family in Bayonne before moving to Hazlet, where they raised their children. In the early 1990s, he settled in Farmingdale. Prior to his retirement, Romano was a battalion chief for the Bayonne Fire Department.
He served as a councilman in Farmingdale for nearly a decade.
Mayor James Daly said, “Michael J. Romano was more than a council peer to Farmingdale. He was appointed to the Borough Council by the Governor’s office during the period when the full council resigned … and he hit the ground running.
“As my council president, Mike was a friend, a confidant and a mentor; a sounding board for good and bad ideas. While I didn’t always heed his response, he understood.
“Mike was a gentleman, a man I would travel to meetings and events with and inevitably someone in the crowd would call out ‘Chief!’ … Even in Monmouth County the legacy of his career (in Bayonne) followed him and current and retired career firefighters and their wives would come over to say hi and ask how he was,” Daly said.
“Mike was a caring and generous man who loved the people around him and was always ready to help. Even in the last few years when his health was really inhibiting him, he reminded me, ‘If the boys need help on the trucks, don’t forget to call me.’
“We would give our guys a few hours rest during the larger storms and jump on the plow trucks in the cover of darkness, so residents didn’t know it was the mayor and a councilman out there keeping up with the snowfall,” Daly said.
“Mike moved to Farmingdale in the early 1990s, but he had been spending his summers here in his later teen years. His uncle owned farmland in Howell just outside town, where he spent his summers working and hunting, and his evenings out at the local watering holes with his buddies …
“In the late 1950s and early 1960s he rode at Cowboy City, which was on Route 33 where the Equestra development now sits. He was a western rider in the shows they put on. I joked with him that since he was from Hudson County, he must have been cast as the bank robber in the show.
“He never told me (what role he was cast in), but my guess is he was the cavalry rider carrying the American flag, because he is a real American,” Daly said, adding he was in awe of Romano’s legacy.
Howell Deputy Mayor Evelyn O’Donnell spoke about Romano’s passing at the May 19 meeting of the Township Council. She said his loss “is certainly a sad thing for the community and because we do so many things with Farmingdale, it feels almost as if one of our own has been lost.”