Obituary of Gerard B. Gruenfelder
Gerard Brian Gruenfelder ("Jerry"), 77, of Hopatcong, passed away on March 23, 2023 at Saint Clare's Hospital in Denville, surrounded by his family. He was born in Yonkers, New York, raised in the Bronx and lived in the surrounding communities before settling in New Jersey in 1987.
Jerry attended Fordham Preparatory School and went on to graduate from Fordham University as the first one in his family to go to college. He earned an MBA from NYU and an MEd from Columbia. Jerry was passionate about education, started his career as a teacher and was a lifelong student himself. He was a community advocate for public schools everywhere he lived and instilled a love for learning in his children.
Jerry met his wife, Catherine ("Cathy") in 1965 and they were married for almost 54 years. They raised two daughters, Catherine Ann and Elizabeth Bernadette, in Mountain Lakes before finally moving to Hopatcong in 2018. In Hopatcong, Jerry was close to his precious grandson, Declan (8) with whom he shared a deep love for history and the presidents. After Cathy retired, she and Jerry enjoyed traveling, especially to the Grand Canyon, Key West and Alaska.
Jerry took pride in running his own business, The Matrix Financial Group, for over 25 years. His clients never stayed just clients, but often became business partners and friends for life. Jerry was an active member in the Fordham Alumni Association and greatly enjoyed his Friday Zoom meetings with his former classmates from "The Prep". His Catholic faith was central to his identity, and he took his role as a lector at Saint Jude's very seriously. Jerry also enjoyed playing pool, watching Notre Dame football games and going on water slides, even in his 70s.
Jerry had a deep love for all animals, but especially dogs. He was known for carrying treats in his pockets to give to every dog around town. His car was filled with dog treats, tennis balls and toys. His favorite place to be was in his chair with his dog in his lap. Most of all, Jerry had a genuine love for people. He was most happy when he could help someone or make someone smile, even if his jokes were corny. He lived a life full of service to those around him.
Jerry is survived by his wife, Catherine Louise, his daughters, Catherine Ann and Elizabeth Bernadette, Elizabeth's husband Glenn, and their son Declan, close friend Lou Valencic, and cousin Vicki Vogrin Sassi.
Jerry's Life Celebration will include visitation on Friday, March 31, 2023 from 5:00-8:00 PM at Leber-Lakeside Funeral Home, 150 Landing Road, Landing, NJ. A funeral Mass will be offered on Saturday, April 1, 2023 beginning at 9:30 AM at St. Jude RC Church, 40 Maxim Drive, Hopatcong, NJ. Family and friends are invited to meet directly at church prior to Mass. Jerry will be laid to rest at Good Shepherd RC Cemetery in Green Township, NJ. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to North Star Pet Rescue (www.northstarpets.org) or Eleventh Hour Rescue (www.ehrdogs.org).