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Patricia Ann McAleer (nee Meehan), 79, passed away peacefully on Sunday, February 12, surrounded by her loved ones. Ann, to her friends and family, was born in Dunmore, County Galway, Ireland, and was the second of 8 siblings. She emigrated to the United States in 1962, at the young age of 18. That same year, she and her older sister Maggie attended a dance at City Center Ballroom in NYC, where she met her future loving husband, Kevin.
Ann would often reminisce about her first date with Kevin. Kevin caught the wrong bus and Ann sent him to “the bank”, not realizing how many banks were in the area, where he had to walk to find her Bloomfield, NJ home. Still, they defied the odds and ended up together and were married in October 1965.
Ann's independence was important to her. Shortly after arriving in the US, she worked as a secretary at Schrafft’s Main Office. When she moved from Astoria to Bogota, NJ, she was so determined to make suburban life work that she borrowed money from a neighbor to take driving lessons, surprising Kevin when she got her driver’s license. In addition to caring for her 5 children, she went back to school at age 50 to get her EKG certificate, and also spent many years as a school lunch aide for her pocket money.Through her 79 years, Ann had a humor and lightness of spirit that never faded with time. The door to the McAleer home was always open to everyone, and you could often find a lively late night discussion going with anyone who happened to sit down across from her when she was having her cup of tea.
She was a devout Catholic and parishioner of St. Joseph’s Church in Bogota, NJ, and she could often be found praying for her friends and family and sprinkling holy water before a big trip for a little extra blessing. She celebrated her heritage often, never missing the opportunity to dance at the Bergen Irish Club. She was known for her Irish potato pancakes, that have been impossible to duplicate to her standards. By far, Christmas was her favorite season. Every year she would host family and friends for an epic Christmas Eve celebration, always with gifts for all, a visit from Santa, and of course, lots of love and laughter.
But what did Ann value most? That’s easy – her family. She raised her children to be loyal, love fiercely, and most importantly, hold family above all else, even in the toughest of times. Loving was her superpower. Ann is survived by a large and fiercely loving family: Husband, Patrick Kevin McAleer; Siblings: Margaret Martin and husband John, James Meehan and his wife Natalie, Una Morrissey, Noreen Lally, Helen Cahalan and her husband Patsy, as well as her devoted children, Sean McAleer and his wife Lynn, Nancy Draney and her husband James, Kevin McAleer and his wife Michelle, Brendan McAleer and his wife Danielle, and Tricia Mantzouranis and her husband Dimitrios; and grandchildren Lindsey, Kelly, Kayleigh, Tyler, James, Kiera, Haley, Patrick, Phoebe, Brody, Logan, Liam, Evan & Angie. She is predeceased by her brothers Gerard & John and sister, Kitty. She will also be dearly missed by an abundance of friends, many of them who were like family to her, and dozens of nieces and nephews around the world.
There will be a wake in celebration of Ann's life on Wednesday, February 15, from 4 - 8 PM at Petrik Funeral Home, 140 Palisade Ave, Bogota. A funeral will be held at 10 AM Thursday February 16 at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, 115 Fort Lee Rd, Bogota, NJ, followed by a burial at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Bloomfield, NJ. Memorial donations can be made to a charity very close to Ann’s heart, The Autism Society at https://autismsociety.org/donate/