Board of Education Trustee Ava Finnerty dies

She succumbed after a long battle with cancer

Bayonne Board of Education Trustee Ava Finnerty passed away over the holiday weekend, according to Superintendent of Schools John Niesz. Finnerty, 72, succumbed to cancer after a years-long battle.

“It is with heavy hearts that we inform you that Trustee Ava Finnerty passed away,” Niesz said. “After a long career at the district, she went on to become a dedicated and respected member of the BOE. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends.”

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Finnerty was among the first elected Board of Education trustees, following the board’s shift from appointed trustees to elected trustees in 2015. Finnerty was re-elected in 2018.

Prior to her tenure on the Board of Education, Finnerty was a career educator. She served as a teacher for over 42 years before retiring, with 34 years spent in the Bayonne district. The other eight were spent teaching in parochial schools in Jersey City, including St. Paul’s School and Sacred Heart.

Thoughts and prayers

Following word of her death, those who knew her offered their condolences.

“We are all saddened to hear of the passing of Ava Finnerty,” Mayor James Davis said. “Ava, a Bayonne Board of Education Trustee, had devoted her life to the education of our children. Our condolences to the entire Finnerty family, as Bayonne mourns this great loss.”

“I was saddened to hear of the passing of Ava Finnerty,” said First Ward City Councilman Neil Carroll. “She devoted her life to education as a teacher and Trustee. My condolences to the entire Finnerty family.”

“Our sincere condolences go out to the entire Finnerty Family on the loss of Ava,” said Board of Education Vice President Christopher Munoz. “She was one of a kind. May God watch over all of you during this difficult time and always. Ava will truly be missed.”

“That woman wanted nothing more than the district to be its best,” said friend and former Board of Education Trustee Charles Ryan.

“Thank you Ava Finnerty for all the encouragement you gave my Ali in speaking out about her daddy and sister,” said safe-driving advocate Pam O’Donnell. “Thank you for always supporting our cause, all the messages of support and to never stop doing what we do. Your love, friendship and support will truly be missed. You can rest easy now, we’ll take it from here dear friend.”

For updates on this and other stories, check and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at

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