Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Veteran New Jersey state senator Gerald Cardinale dies at 86
top story

Veteran New Jersey state senator Gerald Cardinale dies at 86

  • 0
Veteran New Jersey state senator Gerald Cardinale dies at 86

State Sen. Gerald Cardinale, R-Bergen, Passaic, complains of the negative tone as members of the Senate Judiciary Committee hold a hearing in Trenton in 2012.

HACKENSACK — One of New Jersey’s longest-serving state senators has died, family members said Saturday. Sen. Gerald Cardinale was 86.

Cardinale, who served almost four decades as a Republican in the New Jersey Senate, died Saturday at Hackensack Meridian Health Pascack Valley Medical Center after a brief illness that was not COVID-19-related, his daughter Marisa said.

“He devoted his life to serving his New Jersey community,” the family said in a statement.

Gov. Phil Murphy said all flags would be lowered to half-staff Monday when the Senate returns to session to honor Cardinale.

Support Local Journalism

Your subscription makes our reporting possible.

“Sen. Cardinale’s 54-year record of public service to the state of New Jersey speaks to the level of trust his constituents placed in him,” the Democratic governor said in a statement.

A longtime Bergen County dentist, Cardinale served on the Demarest school board in 1967 and became mayor in 1975, then spent one term in the Assembly before moving to the Senate in 1982.

Senate GOP leader Tom Kean said the caucus is “deeply saddened” by Cardinale’s passing, calling him “a trusted voice in the Senate for nearly four decades.”

“Generations of Republicans and Democrats who served alongside him in the Legislature were guided by his sage advice,” Kean said. “We are all better legislators for having served with him.”

Cardinale, who had been planning to run for reelection, leaves behind his wife, Carole, of 62 years, his children — Marisa, Christine, Kara, Gary and Nicole — and his grandchildren, Sebastian, Allegra, Tamara and Chloe, the family said. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Assemblyman Robert Auth, R-Bergen, called Cardinale a longtime mentor to generations of Republicans and one of the best retail politicians he had ever seen.

“There was never a hand he did not want to shake, a door he did not want to knock on, or a train station where he did not want to greet commuters with a smile,” Auth said.

Get Government & Politics updates in your inbox!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

The best local coverage, unlimited

Sign up for a digital subscription to The Press of Atlantic City now and take advantage of a great offer.


Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

PLEASE BE ADVISED: Soon we will no longer integrate with Facebook for story comments. The commenting option is not going away, however, readers will need to register for a FREE site account to continue sharing their thoughts and feedback on stories. If you already have an account (i.e. current subscribers, posting in obituary guestbooks, for submitting community events), you may use that login, otherwise, you will be prompted to create a new account.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


Breaking News