NEW JERSEY — Gov. Phil Murphy has ordered flags be flown at half-staff at all state buildings and facilities Friday in recognition of the death of former New Jersey First Lady Deborah “Debby” Bye Kean.
Flags are also being flown at half-staff indefinitely in honor of the victims of COVID-19, the news release from the governor’s office said.
“Debby Kean used her time as First Lady to advocate for child care for state employees, supported research on developmental disabilities, and led an extensive renovation of Drumthwacket,” Murphy said in the release.
“In addition to her great achievements during Governor Kean’s time in office, she was dedicated to her family, including her son, Sen. Tom Kean Jr. Governor Kean, Tom Jr., Alexandra, and Reed are in my and Tammy’s thoughts and prayers.”
Murphy’s executive order notes that Mrs. Kean served as New Jersey’s first lady from 1982 to 1990.
As first lady, Mrs. Kean was noted for the renovation of the Governor’s mansion at Drumthwacket, her obituary says. When Kean was elected, New Jersey did not have a Governor’s mansion, as their previous site, Morven, was given to the New Jersey Historical Society to use as their headquarters.
“Mrs. Kean was known to family and friends for her warm disposition and quick wit,” the obituary says. “An avid reader, she was a lifetime enthusiast of the performing and visual arts, avocations she shared with her husband.”