MILLBURN, NJ - Mary Patricia Colicchio, who taught history and film studies at Summit High School since 2003, passed away August 4 at the age of 56. She had been battling pancreatic cancer since being diagnosed in August of 2017.
Colicchio offered an honest and courageous, first-person account of her fight at marypatsjourney.blogspot.com.
In an e-mail sent to the Summit High School community, principal Stacy Grimaldi said Colicchio -- who retired at the end of the 2018 school year -- "will always be remembered for her unwavering dedication and commitment to her students and colleagues."
Grimaldi went on to add that "counselors will be available in the Guidance and Counseling Office... through Thursday from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. for any students that need support. In addition, counselors will be available at the beginning of the school year."
An obituary posted on the The Jacob A. Holle Funeral Home website reads:
"Mary Pat Colicchio (nee Barry) of Millburn passed away at home on August 4, 2018 surrounded by her family. She was 56. Relatives and friends were invited to attend the Funeral Mass at St. Rose of Lima Church, 50 Short Hills Ave., Short Hills on Friday Aug 10th.
Mary Pat taught history at Summit High School for the past 17 years. She began her teaching career in 1986 at Millburn High School, where she also coached track and cheerleading before taking time off to raise her children. She became involved in the Neighborhood House Nursery School in Millburn, serving on the board and eventually becoming the school’s Director. She returned to the classroom in 1998 and began teaching at Summit H.S in 2001. The impact she had on her students over the years has been felt in areas well beyond the subject matter. She was always encouraging and compassionate while maintaining the highest standards that her students were capable of achieving, both in their studies and in their lives.
She received Bachelors and Masters degrees in History and Education from St. Elizabeth’s College at Convent Station. She held certifications in Special Education, as well as in African American Studies and Women’s Studies. She was a N.J Amistad Scholar and a Gilder Lehrman constitutional scholar. Alexander Hamilton was her “main man” long before becoming a Broadway sensation.
Mary Pat had a passion for democracy and social justice and was always willing to champion a just cause or to be an advocate for someone in need. One of her proudest moments was her participation in the Women’s March on Washington in 2017 with her daughter and other friends and colleagues.
She served for many years on the Essex County Republican Committee representing Millburn’s District 1.
She was always involved in her children’s activities, among other things serving as scout leader, softball coach and president of the Millburn H.S. Wrestling Booster Club.
She and her family have been parishioners at St. Rose of Lima for 25 years, where she taught CCD and was co-founder of the St. Rose Family Life Group.
Despite being an asthmatic, Mary Pat competed in 5 triathlons. She did this to set an example for her children that obstacles can be overcome with hard work and preparation.
Mary Pat was loved by a great many friends and family, which had been evidenced by the overwhelming outpouring of kindness, support and prayers that she received during her year-long battle with pancreatic cancer. It truly humbled her and sustained her and for which she was and her family is eternally grateful.
She is survived by her husband Thomas Colicchio, children Julia and Patrick Colicchio, parents William and Margaret Barry, brother William Barry Jr, sisters Ann Collas, Joan McCormick and Sheila Barry, and her Aunt Joan Tuomey. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews, cousins, brother and sister- in-laws. In lieu of flowers donations to Mary's Place by the Sea, 22 Main Ave.,Ocean Grove, NJ 07756 or Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, 1500 Rosecrans Ave., Suite 200, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 would be appreciated. Arrangements by The Jacob A. Holle Funeral Home. For more information or to send condolences please visit jacobhollefuneralhome.com."