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Teacher ‘left a permanent mark on the community of South River’

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SOUTH RIVER–Anthony Razzano was an entertainer, having performed at countless functions, including the annual holiday party for the New York Knicks.

Before his retirement from the South River School District, Razzano taught English, drama and public speaking through the English Department of the South River Public School System.

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He was active in the community as a member of the South River Lions Club, Board of Education and the Borough Council.

The former teacher and Board of Education member passed away at age 72 on May 12 at Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick. He had lived in South River for more than 30 years, according to his obituary from the Maliszewski Funeral Home.

“Tony Razzano has left a permanent mark on the community of South River. He was born and raised here, had an amazing career as an educator, and then went on to dedicate years of service through the [board], Lions Club, etc. He has touched many lives for the better and his grandson Nicholas and I are truly appreciative of all the care and condolences that were shared with us as family,” said Elizabeth Lell, board member and Razzano’s former daughter-in-law.

Board President Cythnia Urbanik said she served with Razzano on the board for all nine years of his service from May 2011 through December 2020.

Urbanik said Razzano served as vice president of the board. He was also on the Instruction, Policy and Legislation, Negotiations, Safety and Risk Management, Buildings and Grounds, Human Resources, Community Relations, Finance and Council/Board Liaison committees as either chair, vice chair or member.

“[Razzano] was a great asset to the board. He gave 100% in all his roles. Razzano was a warm, welcoming gentleman who would always have more of an interest in you than in talking about himself,” Urbanik said. “Everything Razzano did and participated in was always for the benefit of the organization in which he was involved.”

As a member of the board, Urbanik said Razzano’s contributions were impactful.

“A great quality of Razzano’s was his ability to see, understand, interpret and explain things from both sides of an issue,” Urbanik said. “Having been a teacher in South River schools, he provided insight into the day-to-day particulars of teaching. Razzano’s insight and explanations helped me make better board decisions and be a better board member.”

When Razzano did not run for re-election in 2020, Urbanik said she was very dismayed he was not seeking another term. She knew she was going to miss his knowledge, passionate work and phenomenal personality, she said. The changes and advances that have been occurring in the South River schools can be directly traced to Razzano’s membership on the board, she said.

“Over the years Tony became more than a fellow board member to me. He became my friend. Many times over the years I thanked Tony for all he meant to me and his help. I am so glad I let him know before he had to go. I will miss him very much,” Urbanik said. “Surely when he reached the pearly gates he was welcomed with a greeting of ‘good job, [Razzano]. Come right in.’ May he Rest in Peace.”

During the council’s bi-monthly meeting, all members including Mayor John Krenzel sent their condolences to the Razzano family and only had good things to say about Razzano.

“I did also serve with him. Always a gentleman. He fought for what he believed and always had the town at heart so [Razzano], we’re going to really miss you,” Krenzel said.

Council President Raymond Eppinger said he knows Razzano for a long time and served with him on the council and the Lions Club.

“In fact, I talked to Tony not that long ago, where he called and again, he was still serving his town. He wanted to make sure that he could come down to Borough Hall and get the glasses [at] the Lions Club that we collect and can repurpose,” Eppinger said. “He wanted to make sure that somebody would be down here to get it, so even even when he wasn’t feeling well … he was still serving the borough right up to the very end. Just a great guy, good person, a good person who served and just a family friend for many years, so our hearts go out to his entire family.”

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made to the Anthony Razzano Memorial Scholarship Fund. Make checks payable to South River High School with “Razzano Memorial Scholarship Fund” in the memo of the check.

Funeral services will take place at 10 a.m. on June 5 at the Maliszewski Funeral Home, 218 Whitehead Ave., South River.

All are invited to visit with the family at the funeral home on June 4 from 4-8 p.m. Masks must be worn at all times inside the building.

Completed arrangements, directions, and letters of condolence to the family may be found at www.maliszewskifuneralhome.com

Contact Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediagroup.com.

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