Former Jersey City Council member for Ward A

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Feb. 5 at Our Lady of Peace Roman Catholic Church, New Providence, for Robert “Bob” W. Betz of New Providence. He passed away in the early hours on Saturday, January 30 with the love and support of his family. He was 70 years of age. Bob was a proud “Jersey City boy,” born on October 23, 1950 at Margaret Hague Hospital and the middle child of Raymond and Rita (nee Tumulty) Betz. He was predeceased by both his parents. Bob was a devoted husband to Barbara (nee Haney,) married for 46 years and together for 52 years; loving father to Amanda Betz Marano and her husband Patrick Marano Jr. of New Providence; Meghan Betz and her fiance Adam Angus of Hoboken and Copenhagen; and Brian Betz of Atlanta; loving brother of Roberta Gilmartin and the late Edward “Ned” Gilmartin, Russell Betz and his wife Liz; proud grandfather to his grandsons Patrick “Tripp” Marano III and William Robert Marano; caring brother-in-law to Carol Haney and her husband, the late Arthur M. Haney and John Haney; loving uncle to his three nieces and nephew and their families; and cherished loved one to his three cousins and countless friends that filled his heart with love and laughter throughout his life. He was a man that loved spending time with his family and friends and was known for his quick wit and ability to tell a good story, love of The Beatles, barbecue and a cold Budweiser; and despite severe limitations from rheumatoid arthritis, he loved being outdoors riding waves at the shore, golfing or skiing. Bob wore many hats throughout his life and through his civic-minded tenacity was able to make a lasting impact not only on the lives of his family, but many people throughout New Jersey. A graduate of St. Aloysius High School in Jersey City and Jersey City State College, he started his career as a social studies teacher at Mary J. Donohue Elementary School in Bayonne while attending Montclair State University’s evening program earning his MBA. He later became the Vice Principal of High Tech High School in North Bergen. In 1980, at 30, Bob ran and won on an underdog campaign ticket with his childhood friends for a seat on the Jersey City Council for Ward A and held this position from 1981-1985. His natural ability to connect investors to his beloved hometown and fellow community members made him a leading figure on the Jersey City Council and an instrumental force in spearheading the redevelopment movement of Jersey City. Most notably, he played a key role in the sale and development of Roosevelt Stadium, the establishment of the present day Hudson-Bergen Lightrail and development of Jersey City’s “Gold Coast” waterfront. After leaving office in 1986, he also left education to start his career in real estate development. He was brought on by K. Hovnanian Homes and stayed with the company for the next decade, eventually heading a division for land acquisitions. He worked with many different builders throughout New Jersey over the years that followed and ultimately established his own independent company, RWB Restorations, before retirement. Bob and Barbara moved their family to New Providence NJ in 1987 and while it was vastly different from Hudson County, this loving community welcomed them with open arms and he considered himself a “Pioneer” through and through. He was an amazing father and the biggest fan of any and all sports and activities that his children were involved in. Always one to want to be a part of the conversation and solution, he was able to utilize his experience in the classroom and school administration with city administration and development as a member of the New Providence Board of Education from 1991-2009. Although his life was filled with many accomplishments, he was a modest person that made an impact bigger than he’d ever admit to and will be greatly missed by all that were fortunate to have him in their lives.