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Jersey City Loses Dear Friend and Long Time Advocate

Anthony Grazioso found dead in home - By Amy Sara Clark and Michaelangelo Conte Jersey Journal Staff Writers

Grazioso was discovered on his back in his kitchen by colleagues at the Jersey City Department of Cultural Affairs at 11 a.m. after he didn't arrive at work and couldn't be reached. He appears to have died of natural causes, according to a police report.

"We are all shocked and saddened," said Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy, who called Grazioso's death "a great loss."

Healy said Grazioso was a "great advocate and ambassador for Jersey City," noting his devotion to the Christopher Columbus Foundation and other civic organizations.

Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said Grazioso was "outgoing, gregarious and a gentleman."

"He was very active in numerous community and charitable organizations - and he loved Jersey City," said DeFazio, whose friendship with Grazioso stretched back 25 years.

A graduate of Jersey City's School 5, St. Peter's Prep and St. Peter's College, Grazioso continued his graduate education with the Jesuits at Fordham University in the Bronx.

Grazioso joined the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 1964 as director of community relations. In 1982, he became director of public affairs for the predecessor to NJ Transit. He retired in 1998.

Grazioso founded the Christopher Columbus Foundation of Hudson County, which awards scholarships to high school seniors who have top grades and a record of community service. In 1995, Grazioso received the foundation's Distinguished Service Award.

"It's a labor of love," he said of the foundation in a 2004 interview with The Jersey Journal.

Grazioso was also on the boards of the Liberty Academy Charter School, the Italian Educational and Cultural Center, the Jersey City Medical Center and the Christ Hospital Foundation, and was active in the Jimmy King Civic Association.

He served as president of the International Institute of New Jersey and treasurer of the Lincoln Association. He was also a prolific letter writer to The Jersey Journal.

Grazioso was divorced and had four children. He was a lifelong member of Holy Rosary Church, Jersey City.

"Life is not just about what you get, it's also what you give," he said in the 2004 interview. "It would be a sin to shortchange the community."

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