Weehawken mourns the loss of 97-year-old WWII vet

Joseph J. Fredericks Jr. died on Nov. 16

Fredericks Jr. served in the European Theatre during WWII.
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Fredericks Jr. served in the European Theatre during WWII.

Officials have offered their condolences following the passing of a Weehawken World War II veteran.

Remembering Joe

Joseph J. Fredericks Jr., a lifelong Weehawken resident, died on Nov. 16. He was 97. Fredericks was a member of one of the longest established families in the township, with ancestors living in Weehawken since 1867.

During WWII, Fredericks served in the Office of Strategic Services in the European Theater of Operations, the precursor to the modern day Central Intelligence Agency and Special Forces.

A combat engineer, he was called on by the United States Army to be a part of a Special Forces operation in 1944. He and another engineer from Jersey City were tasked with delivering supplies to resistance forces by parachuting in the middle of the night to resistance groups in various countries.

Fredericks was also the Deputy Chief of the Weehawken Fire Department and taught fire safety in schools. He retired after 36 years but remained active in the community through the Red Cross, St. Lawrence Church, and the VFW Post 1923.

For the past 15 years, he served as cochair of the Memorial Day Parade Ceremony on Boulevard East.

‘A true American Hero’

In a joint statement, Mayor Richard Turner, First Ward Councilwoman Carmela Silvestri-Ehret, Second Ward Councilwoman Rosemary Lavagnino, Third Ward Councilman Raul Gonzalez, Councilman at Large David Curtis, and Township Manager Giovanni Ahmad mourned Fredericks’ passing:

“Joe was part of what is called America’s greatest generation. Joe was a symbol of all the men and women who had to leave their homes and give up their lives to protect this country. He was devoted to remembering those who fought in World War II, especially those soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice.”

They continued: “Joe loved Weehawken, and Weehawken loved him. He was an inspiration to all; he knew everyone and everyone knew him. A true American Hero in every way. Rest in peace, Joe. Weehawken will be forever grateful to you.”

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