Editor's Note: This is the first of two articles on John Cosgrove's retirement from the Fair Lawn Borough Council.

FAIR LAWN, NJ – It was John Cosgrove’s final council meeting as a member of the governing body and much like Eli Manning, he went out on a high note.

Fair Lawn celebrated Cosgrove on Dec. 17, in an unabashed display of praise and gratitude for the five-time mayor, public servant and life-time resident.

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Childhood peer Joan Goldstein said it best at the public portion of the meeting.

“Oh, John. You are forever a Cutter,” she said, referring to the high school's mascot. “As the biggest Giants fan, I liken your exit to Eli’s on Sunday.”

New York Giant 16-year veteran quarterback Eli Manning likely started his last game at MetLife Stadium on Dec. 15 when he led his team in the winning effort against the Miami Dolphins, 36-20. Much like Manning, Cosgrove is known for his gentlemanly behavior and grace under pressure. And also like Manning, Cosgrove will remain a treasure among his fans, which in this case are his fellow residents.

Cosgrove sat in the middle of the dais on Tuesday, the seat usually occupied by Mayor Kurt Peluso. It’s a seat Cosgrove occupied for five years. This year, he served as Deputy Mayor of Community Affairs.

In total, Cosgrove served on the council for eight years, but his years with Fire Company #4 are even more notable. After the council meeting, friends met him there where a cake embellished with his photo and a roomful of friends greeted him.

The popular public servant decided not to run for re-election almost a year ago in January.

Shortly thereafter, Cosgrove began his tenure on the Passaic Valley Sewer Commission, a governor-appointed position.

Nearly two years ago in February, Cosgrove suffered a stroke. He has since fully recovered and continues to lead an active life, including running his business, Atlantic Handling Systems, in Fair Lawn. The company designs, sells, installs and services conveyor and storage systems—an industry he’s been in for 39 years.

At the meeting, his council peers repeatedly said how John not only said he would be a uniter, but he followed through, bringing civility to local government.

With Cosgrove’s exit, republicans are no longer represented on the five-member council. Kris Krause, who ran on a ticket with Peluso and Cristina Cutrone, defeated three republican challengers: John Gil and Glen Callons, who ran together on a ticket, and Stephen Janiszak. The mayor is chosen annually among the five members.

Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of John Cosgrove's final meeting.