Former Scotch Plains Mayor Joan Papen Dies at Age 79

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – Former Scotch Plains Mayor Joan L. Papen, 79, died at Overlook Hospital on Saturday, March 15. 

Born in Plainfield, Joan Papen was raised in Rahway, and settled in Scotch Plains in 1962.  She served on the Scotch Plains Township Council from 1983-98 and was appointed as Mayor of Scotch Plains in 1986, ‘89, ‘93, and ‘98. Papen also served on the Planning Board, as Treasure and Vice Chairman of the Union Council League of Municipalities, Library Board of Trustees, the Master Plan Review Committee, Cultural Arts Committee, Mayor's Charity Ball Committee, and the PTA Council and Board of Education. 

Papen initiated the Telecommunications Advisory Committee, which began the live televising of the Township Council Public Meetings on local cable TV. She also served as PTA President of the Brunner School, Park Middle School, and Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School.  Most recently, she was a Chair of the Union County Republican Women and Vice-Chair of the Scotch Plains Republican Committee. 

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She is survived by her husband Robert Papen; her two daughters and their husbands Laurie and Robert Fuchs and Cheri and Robert Santiago; her two grandsons Connor and Brandon Santiago. Contributions can be made the Scotch Plains Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 325, Scotch Plains, NJ. 07076. 

Visitation will be held on Tuesday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at Rossi Funeral Home, 1937 Westfield Ave. in Scotch Plains, where a funeral service will be held on Wednesday at 10 a.m. Interment will follow at Hillside Cemetery in Scotch Plains. 

To read Joan Papen’s full obituary, visit

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