SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — The Township of Scotch Plains is mourning the passing of Councilwoman Rose Checchio, who died on Sunday following a long battle with breast cancer. 

Checchio was elected to the Council along with John Del Sordi in November 2014 following a contentious campaign battle. She was named Deputy Mayor by former Mayor Kevin Glover in 2015 and served as liaison to the Recreation Dept. 

In addition to serving on the Scotch Plains Council, Checchio was co-owner and president of the Little Genius Academy in Edison and Metuchen. The pre-school education centers offer full and part-time schedules to give parents flexibility while providing infants, toddlers, and preschoolers a strong learning foundation. She developed a reputation as an industry leader in the state.

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In a 2016 profile in TAPintoSPF, Checchio opened up about her time on the Scotch Plains Council and about her health battle with breast cancer. 

I was six months late for my mammogram. Don’t ever put off something so important as a mammogram; nothing is more important than your health.  We live in this crazy, fast-paced world, and I think there is just so much pressure on women today – we work, take care of the kids, put food on the table, we really try and do it all. We do it all, but we also pay a price... and that price should never be your health.

More recently, Checchio was among the recipients of the 2018 Women of Excellence Awards given by the Union County Commission on the Status of Women. In recent months, she had been unable to attend Scotch Plains Council meetings because of her declining health. 

"I'm devastated. Rose did all the right things. Breast cancer is such a terrible disease. It could have been any of us," said Colleen Mahr of her friend, who supported the Fanwood Mayor's candidacy for Union County Democratic Chair. "This is such a loss for her family, her children, and the community."

Checchio is survived by her husband Guy, daughter Taylor, who attends Savannah College of Art and Design, and son Alex, a 6th grader.

"Rest In Peace to my beautiful mom," Taylor wrote on her mother's Facebook wall. "She battled cancer for four years and lost the battle tonight. I’ve prayed for my mom to be at peace and out of pain for so long and I’m so happy she’s able to be at peace."

In concluding her 2016 profile interview with TAPintoSPF, Checchio left us with these words that are especially poignant today:

The community has been so supportive from helping me fundraise for breast cancer awareness and just offering meals, rides to chemo and prayers. It’s been a journey... I've learned many lessons in my life, but one that comes through loud and clear is that we are never guaranteed tomorrow. I've made a lot of valuable changes in my life. Illness and disease have taught me to embrace the moment and live life to the fullest. I just want to say that if there is one gift that breast cancer has given me, it is to be present in the moment.