in memoriam

In Memory of Donald L. Fagely

May 14, 2023


Donald Leon Fagely, husband of 65 years, devoted father and grandfather, passed away May 14, 2023 at Riverview Medical Center, Red Bank NJ, surrounded by his family.

In addition to the love of his life, Janet M. Fagely (Witomski), Don is survived by his beloved daughters: Michele and her husband, Buzz Ciprut, of Belmar, NJ, and Judy and her husband, Michael McGurl, of Fair Haven NJ, and his cherished grandchildren Daniel Ciprut of Bradley Beach, NJ, Shannon Quinn and her husband, Joseph, of Wall, NJ, Meagan McGurl of Jacksonville, FL and Aidan McGurl of Jacksonville, FL. He is also survived by sister-in-law, Judith Ruocco (Frank) of Aiken, SC; niece, Peggy Gladstone (Philip) of Carlisle, MA as well as many nieces, nephews and friends. He was preceded in death by his son, Rollin H. Fagely in 2006, his brother, Rollin H. Fagely in 1959, brother-in-law, Matthew Mansfield in 2005, and sister-in-law, Patricia Mansfield in 2023.

Donald was born June 22, 1934 to Rollin and Marie Fagely (Warncke) in Mauch Chunk (Jim Thorpe), PA where he lived until he was eight years old. His family relocated to Jersey City, NJ where Don graduated from Dickinson High School, Jersey City and later enrolled in the Port Authority Police Academy. Don served in the US Army in Georgia and was a reservist.

A dedicated public servant, Donald began his career as a police officer for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and retired in 1980. After his retirement, Don began a second career as a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service; he became well known along his route for his wit and friendly nature until his retirement in 2000. During his tenure as a mail carrier, he received notable commendation for acts of tremendous service and rescuing elderly residents during various emergencies.

Don lived in South River, NJ for the past 63 years where he and Janet raised their children. A member of the Society for American Baseball Research Club, Don was a lifelong sports fan who enjoyed rooting for his grandchildren's many teams. He coached his son's Pop Warner football and basketball teams and provided countless rides and support for his daughters' cheer teams and friends. He also ran many 5k races, and was proud of his time per pound.

His grandchildren's biggest fan, Don never wanted to miss a basketball, soccer, baseball, lacrosse or football game. He spent countless hours cheering from the sidelines at all levels including youth, high school and collegiate. In support of his grandchildren's alma maters, Don became an avid athletics supporter of Manalapan, Colts Neck, and Rumson-Fair Haven High Schools and Fairleigh Dickinson University, Wake Forest University, Lafayette College and University of Florida long past their respective graduations.

Known for sharing entertaining stories, Don will long be remembered for his sense of humor, encyclopedic knowledge of sports statistics and his love of reading (and for leaving his own commentary in the margins). He enjoyed going to Atlantic City with Janet, watching the horses at Monmouth Race track and listening to Sinatra on the radio.

Visitation will be Saturday, May 20, 2023, from 9am - 10:15 am, followed by a Celebration of Life to begin at 10:15am, at The Brunswick Memorial Home, 454 Cranbury Rd, East Brunswick, NJ. Interment will follow at Washington Monumental Cemetery, South River, NJ.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to South River Pop Warner or South River High School Boosters, or a youth sports team of your choice.