SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – At a press briefing Jan. 13, Gov. Phil Murphy recognized and honored the late Patricia 'Patti' Waters of South Plainfield. A lifetime resident of the borough, Mrs. Waters passed away on Jan. 7 at JFK Medical Center in Edison due to complications from COVID-19.  She was just 58 years old. 

"Patti spent all of her years as a resident of South Plainfield," said Murphy, extending thanks to Senator Patrick J, Diegnan Jr. for sharing the details about Mrs. Waters passing. "[She] dedicated her career to public education and sent a generation of learners off on their journeys as a pre-K teacher…in her hometown…"

Mrs. Waters graduated from South Plainfield High School in 1980 before going on to earn a degree in economics from Rutgers University. She began her career as a pre-K teacher in 1986 and, over the past 34 years, worked for the South Plainfield Board of Education and was a member of the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA). Mrs. Waters worked many years for the district's Future Stars program and, most recently, was a pre-k teacher at John E. Riley Elementary School. 

Sign Up for Piscataway Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

On Jan. 11, TAPinto South Plainfield published Mrs. Waters'  obituary and, as of press time, over 100 residents – past and present – along with friends and parents of current and former students – took to Facebook to share their condolences. 

"I am heartsick to hear of Patti’s passing. I send my love to her family and friends who are grieving. God Bless Patti," stated Sandy Doyon, vice president of the South Plainfield Education Association. 

Samantha Hunter stated "Continuing to pray for strength for her family. Such an amazing soul with great energy."

Mc Le posted, "[M]y twins had her for 2 years…She was a wonderful person who made my kids love school every day. Sending our condolences."

"Condolences to the Waters family. Mrs. Waters was my children’s preschool teacher at Future Stars. She was such a kind and caring person, and she will never be forgotten," said Denise Kelly. 

Laura Rasmussen, sharing a photo and referencing a popular preschool song, stated, "We loved you in the morning, and in the afternoon. Thank you for being a part of our little lives at Future Stars."

Mrs. Waters loved to read mystery novels, crafting, scrapbooking, decorating the house for every holiday, going to the beach, being pampered at the nail salon, and watching Hallmark movies and reality TV shows. She also enjoyed watching her children play sports and attending marching band competitions and was a member of the South Plainfield High School Marching Band Music Boosters. 

"Away from her classroom, Patti was an avid reader and crafter," stated Murphy, noting that she was also a competitive miniature golfer who took 'joy in beating all players, including her husband Scott.'

Mrs. Waters is predeceased by her parents, John and Ann (Fugman) Campanelli and leaves behind her husband, Scott, and children Matthew and Stephanie. She is also survived by her father-in-law Thomas Waters, sister-in-law Sharon (Waters) and her husband Bernard McCabe, nieces Shannon McCabe and Heather (McCabe) Leavy and nephew Kevin McCabe.  She also leaves behind her loving friends and students.

"[Patti] leaves many friends and many more grateful students," said Murphy, adding, "Thank you, Patti for being a true leader in and out of the classroom and may God bless your memory and all who you have left behind and miss you."

The Waters family was cared for by the McCriskin-Gustafson Home for Funerals, however, due to COVID-19 pandemic and the desire of safety, her funeral on Jan. 12 was private. A public memorial service will be held at a later date.

TAPinto South Plainfield is South Plainfield’s only free daily paper. Sign up to get all the news as it happens at and follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter at @SoplainfieldTAP.