New garden at Monroe Public Library honors lives of late mayor, his wife


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MONROE – A new pergola and butterfly garden adorn the grounds of the Monroe Township Public Library in honor of the late Monroe Mayor Gerald Tamburro and his wife.

“I want to thank the family for thinking of the library as a place to honor both their parents. I cannot think of a better way actually, than to have this garden,” said Leah Wagner, director of the Monroe Public Library. “The mayor and Carole were wonderful library supporters.”

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A dedication of the new “Tamburro Garden” took place on July 18. Tamburro died in 2020. His wife, Carole, passed away in 2019.

When Tamburro passed away in December 2020, his family requested memorial contributions to the Monroe Public Library in lieu of flowers, according to library officials.

“I do not know if all of you know it or not, but Carole used to teach sewing here and the mayor was always open to listen to what we had to say and talk to us about what he thought the library should do too,” Wagner said.

Part of the Tamburro Garden is a butterfly garden that has been certified as a monarch butterfly waystation. Monarch waystations provide necessary resources for monarchs to produce and sustain their migration, officials said.

Butterflies are important to the Tamburro family, Wagner said.

“When we talk about heart, we talk about Gerry and Carole. That is the essence of the two of them,” Mayor Stephen Dalina said. “We are all here for reason for Gerry and Carole. We are here because they touched us in some capacity.

“For me to follow Gerry was not hard, we always talk about shoes to fill, but that heart, that love Gerry had that I was able to take and then give out again is what we all want.”

Tamburro was elected mayor in November 2015 and sworn-in on Jan. 1, 2016. Before his role as mayor, he was elected as a Ward 2 council member in 2001. He served eight years as council president.

He was a member of the Monroe Township Planning Board, and previously served as chairman of the Affordable Housing Board, chairman of the Master Plan Review Committee, council representative to the Americans with Disabilities Act Committee, vice chairman of the Middlesex County Planning Board, and member of the New Jersey Training School Citizens Review Committee.

Prior to his public service, Tamburro was a retired banker and previously served as vice president of commercial lending for the National State Bank of Elizabeth and as president of a community bank in New Jersey.

For Carole, she was a home economics teacher before raising her family and she would later work with the Social Security Administration before she retired. She also served as president of the Greenbriar Whittingham Bocce Club.

“Mom as people said got involved with the Bocce League, she was involved in activities with the [Monroe] community and senior center,” said Gerald Tamburro Jr., son of Gerald and Carole Tamburro. “She exercised at the fitness center and of course her favorite thing was borrowing books from [the Monroe Public Library].”

Gerald and Carole Tamburro shared six children and nine grandchildren.

“My parents moved to Monroe later in life. It was not their hometown of Nutley, New Jersey, where they first met in seventh grade,” the younger Tamburro said. “Monroe was not where they raised their six children, it was East Brunswick. But Monroe became their adopted hometown and more importantly Monroe adopted them.”

He added Monroe became a place where his parents “worked, socialized and were deeply involved in the community in so many ways.”

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