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Weehawken holds moment of silence for first female police officer in Hudson County

The Township Council also honored a councilman from back in the day

The Weehawken Township Council met in person and virtually on September 28.

Weehawken recently held a moment of silence for two notable members of the public who recently passed away.

Mayor Richard Turner led the moment silence after a suggestion from Councilman At-Large Robert Sosa. At its September 28 meeting, the Township Council honored Debby McGorty and Stephen Weil.

“Debby McGorty was the first female police officer in Hudson County,” Turner said. “And Stephen Weil was a commissioner in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. One moment of silence please.” 

Debby McGorty

McGorty passed away at age 68 surrounded by loved ones on September 21. She died as a resident of Secaucus after a long battle with complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

According to her obituary, McGorty was born on October 1, 1953, to John and Mary McGorty in Weehawken. She was one of seven children that helped raise each other after the tragic death of her parents at age 15.

For grammar school, McGorty attended St. Augustine’s School in Union City before beginning her high school education at Holy Family High School in Union City. She transferring to Weehawken High School where she graduated in 1971, after which she pursued a career in Law Enforcement.

McGorty began her career as an officer with the Hudson County Corrections Department where she worked in the jail and continued to pursue advancement within the field. Breaking barriers for all women in the state of New Jersey, McGorty went on to graduate from the Jersey City Police academy becoming the first female police officer in Hudson County.

A trailblazer for women in law enforcement, McGorty joined the Hudson County Police Department in 1980 where she served as a patrol officer for over 16 years. She was very active within the department, acting as a field training officer and leading the union as Police Benevolent Association (PBA) president up to and through their disbanding in 1996.

Debby McGorty. Photo courtesy of her obituary.

Shortly after that, McGorty joined the Weehawken Police Department where she continued to serve for the remainder of her law enforcement career. She was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 2008 and retired from the force in 2010 after over 30 years of service in law enforcement.

Stephen Weil

Stephen Weil passed away on August 24. According to his obituary, Weil was born December 19, 1943, and was a Weehawken resident his entire life, residing in the family’s home for 78 years.

After graduating Weehawken High School, Stephen served in the U.S. Army. He worked as a Union 24 plumber most of his life.

After retiring, Weil continued to work for the township of Weehawken as a plumbing inspector. He also proudly served as a councilman for the town and his work during a town blackout was honored.

Weil had an immense love for animals and rescuing them. He supported many charities, and his family will continue to do so.

Of note, Weil was said to have had the number one dog tag in town. He loved telling stories from the ‘good ole days’ of Weehawken and his friendships with the 50 Street boys.

Seven years ago, Weil opened up his home to his niece, Stacie Weil-Fitzgerald, her five children and another dog, Rocky. He loved late night walks with his dogs and with his nephew, Tristen Fitzgerald.

The Fitzgerald children took care of Weil in his last few months of illness. He loved watching the Mets with his brother, Bruce Weil, and it was the last thing he celebrated before his passing.

Weil was a collector of many things, including stray cats. He will be joined by his many animals at the gates of heaven, including Chelsie Bo, and his recent rescue and best friend Nena.

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