Greta Kiernan died on Tuesday, January 3, 2023 at her home in Plainsboro. She was 89.
Greta was born in New York City on December 20, 1933, the second child of Mary Scanlan and William Spier. She attended the Academy of the Holy Angels and Berkeley School of Business. In 1954, she married Richard R. Kiernan, an advertising executive, with whom she had six children.
Greta had a long and distinguished career in public service and politics in New Jersey, serving at the municipal, county, state, regional, and federal levels for more than 50 years. She was the first Democratic woman elected to the Legislature from Bergen County, winning Assembly District 39 in 1978. While in the Assembly, she served on the Joint Appropriations Committee, the Legislative Oversight Committee, and the State Government Committee.
Greta also served on the staff of three Assembly members, three State Senators, Congressman Rush Holt and Governors James McGreevy, Richard Codey, and Jon Corzine. She was the first New Jersey Representative at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and also worked at the Board of Public Utilities, the Department of Environmental Protection, and for her beloved Plainsboro Township. She served as a Democratic County Committeewoman for Bergen County and for Middlesex County. Greta received an honorary degree from Glassboro State College (now Rowan University) in 1989.
Until her retirement in 2021, Greta was a Visiting Associate at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, as well as a member of the Plainsboro Planning Board and a trustee of the Plainsboro Public Library.
Greta was a three-time Jeopardy! champion, a prolific reader, and a lifelong fan of Laurel & Hardy and of Teddy Roosevelt. She had a wonderful sense of humor and was known to sing along at the piano. She was a mentor to so many people in the world of government and politics and was a role model to all who knew her.
Greta was predeceased by her husband, and is survived by their six children: Ann (Frederick Booth), of New Brunswick; Mark (Carol), of Harrington Park; Paul (Leslie) of Chevy Chase, MD; John (Vicky), of Valley Cottage, NY; Clare Lafferty (Chuck) of Williamstown; and James, of Montgomery, NY. She also leaves behind eleven grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and many friends.
Relatives and friends are invited to visit on Monday, January 9, 2023 from 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. at Boylan Funeral Home, 188 Easton Avenue, New Brunswick. A Funeral Mass will be held on Tuesday, January 10th at 10:00 a.m. at Our Lady of Victories Roman Catholic Church, Harrington Park. Interment will follow at Tappan Cemetery, Tappan, NY.