BAYONNE, NJ - Cherie LaPelusa, wife of Councilman Gary LaPelusa, died Wednesday after contracting COVID-19.
Literally, the woman behind the man, Cherie was an important figure in her husband’s political career, as well as a partner in his landscaping business and civic association. In an interview with TAPinto Bayonne in early April, Cherie said she had decided to take the test for COVID-19 because she started to display symptoms. She said, however, she was not overly concerned at the time.
“I just feel ill and I want to make sure what it is,” she said. Although not interviewed since, Cherie apparently tested positive for COVID-19. According to Gary, Cherie had been showing steady improvement for more than 10 days before taking a turn for the worse. “I feel like I lost my right arm, my wife of 28 years,” LaPelusa said.
“The level of hurt that me and my family feel is immeasurable. Please pray for her soul.”
Although she never ran for public office, Cherie was a very powerful political voice behind the scenes for more than two decades, and a staunch critic of Mayor Mark Smith and his administration – well-known for her relentless pursuit of information, and well-versed in the use of the Open Public Records Act.
Like her husband, she became a political ally of Mayor Jimmy Davis, although expressed the desire to see her husband become mayor someday. “Jimmy promised to support Gary when Jimmy decided not to run again,” she told TAPinto Bayonne during her last interview.
“I am very saddened to learn that Cherie LaPelusa, the wife of Third Ward Council Member Gary LaPelusa, passed away after battling the Coronavirus. Cherie was a very active and concerned member of our community,” Davis said. “She took part in numerous civic activities, City Council meetings, and other community events for many years. On behalf of the City of Bayonne, I would like to extend our condolences to my friend Gary LaPelusa and his family.”
Cherie was also an instrumental leader of The Gary LaPelusa Association, an organization that helped many people the community through food and toy drives, and dinners honoring significant people across Bayonne.
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