SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – South Plainfield Library Staff, local leaders and family members all descended on the sidewalk behind the Library as Austin O’Neill, grandson of longtime Library Clerk Eleanor Haines presented a dedication stone for Haines’ late sister Fortunata ‘Fudgie’ Guidone.
“Fudgie” was remembered, by O’Neill, for being a good sport playing kickball at the age of 87, being an excellent cook and always able to put a smile on anyone’s face. The dedication stone was donated by Austin O’Neill in 2012 as part of his Eagle Scout project, but was unable to be installed at the Foothill Acres Nursing Home in Hillsborough where “Fudgie lived her finals days.”
“Even though I attained my Eagle Scout back in 2014 as a member of Hillsborough Troop #89, I always felt it wasn’t complete until Fudgie’s dedication stone had its final resting spot,” said O’Neill.
The star of the day’s ceremony, however, was Fudgie’s sister Eleanor Haines. Haines, a fixture of the Library as both an employee and Library Board member, discussed her love of the new library and, in particular, South Plainfield. “I pray every day for the people of South Plainfield,” said Haines. “I’m so proud of the new Library, it is the most beautiful thing to happen to South Plainfield and I’m just glad I decided to move here in 1962.”
“Eleanor, you laid the groundwork for the new library that we have here today,” said South Plainfield Mayor Anesh. “We are forever grateful for your hard work and dedication to South Plainfield.”
A grateful Haines thanked and kissed both Anesh and New Jersey State Senator and South Plainfield resident Patrick J. Diegnan.
“Whenever I think of Eleanor I always think of her positive attitude and how she felt everything is beautiful,” said Diegnan. “When she was the impetus for getting the name of Borough Park changed to Veteran’s Park she came before the Mayor and Council the process took years, but when everything was said and done she responded isn’t this beautiful.”
“I am so impressed by Austin O’Neil, and his dedication to his grandmother Eleanor Haines and his beloved Aunt Fudgie,” said South Plainfield Councilwoman Christine Faustini. “This spot here at the library is the perfect resting place for this dedication stone. I remember, Eleanor, was still a member of the South Plainfield Library Board when I first came on several years ago. Her achievement and dedication to the library are revered. She is an inspiration to those in Public Service, and unforgettable once you’ve met her, she is so full of life. Today’s event was so touching and moving for all that were in attendance.”
The dedication stone was a tribute to both “Fudgie” and Haines who lived for years on Oak Manor Parkway and dedicated so much time and effort to the South Plainfield Memorial Library. Those attending the event included Mayor Anesh, Senator Diegnan, Councilwoman Faustini, Councilman Joe Wolak, Library Director Linda Hansen, Library Board President Darlene Cullen, Library Board Members Cheryl Smiley, Stephanie Wolak and Melissa Katsingris, Library Board Attorney Eric Aronowitz, and Borough Administrator Glenn Cullen.
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