Christopher J. Killmurray

A Life of Public Service

South Brunswick Mayor Christopher J. Killmurray passed away on April 8, 2018 from brain cancer. He left behind 56 years of community service, library advocacy, and countless loving friends and family.

To honor his decades of good will and service to the South Brunswick community, the Township Council voted unanimously in December 2020 to dedicate the South Brunswick Public Library building in his name. A resolution was adopted by the Township Council and a supporting resolution to name the Library building for Killmurray was also adopted by the SBPL Board of Trustees.

A dedication ceremony was held on Saturday afternoon, April 3, 2021 on the grounds of the South Brunswick Public Library.

Roots

A native of New Jersey, Killmurray was born in Perth Amboy and grew up in Sewaren in Woodbridge Township. He is the son of Francis and Marilyn Jarvis Killmurray.

He was raised with an appreciation for libraries by a mother who was a longtime employee of the Woodbridge Public Library. Impressed by her commitment to library service, he honored her service by sponsoring the SBPL Borrower Services Desk in her name in the 2005 building expansion. A wall plaque in her honor hangs by this public service desk.

Dedication Plaque to Lynn Killmurray

SBPL Advocate

SBPL Director Chris Carbone said he will always remember the lessons he learned working alongside Killmurray as a young library administrator.

“He understood the importance of community and diplomacy. He understood the Library as a pillar of democracy – that all people are equal and have a right to information,” said Carbone.

Groundbreaking Ceremony, Sept. 9th 2004
Left to Right:   Christopher Killmurray, Town Manger Matt Watkins, Councilwoman Carol Barrett, Trustee Suzanne Hayducka, Trustee President Muhammad Ashraf, Mayor Frank Gambatese, Trustee Ellen Gambatese, Trustee Frank Ragany, Trustee Daljit Bais, Trustee Shari Repka, Library Director Chris Carbone, Councilman Ted Van Hessen

 

Killmurray was most active in the 2005 Library building expansion and renovation and its capital campaign. He worked closely on the project with former Library Foundation President Arthur Roedel Jr. At the time, Killmurray was both a Library Board Member and Township Councilman.

“He had total dedication,” Carbone recalled, remembering Killmurray’s countless hours of mentoring and advice. “He was committed to moving the Library forward; while helping the whole town and making it the best that it could be.”

Make no mistake, Killmurray also enjoyed the Library for the simple pleasure of reading. Assistant Director Judy Pietrobono remembered his love of Irish mystery books. She always made sure to purchase some for our collection with him in mind.

“I’m so happy the building is named after him. I still miss him a lot,” said Pietrobono. “He was such a good man and a tireless library advocate.”

Killmurray was an active Hibernian and devotee of all things related to his Irish heritage. Every St. Patrick’s Day the staff of SBPL could count on a special delivery by him of Irish soda bread. He would bring enough loaves for staff working on both floors.

Somehow he made each of the many people and projects in his life feel like they were his first priority.

Killmurray was a Library Board member for 18 years up until his passing, including a term as board president. He could always be counted on to attend fundraising events to support the efforts of his fellow Trustees and the Library administration.

“He saw what the Library could do for his kids and the community,” recalled former SBPL Director Lorraine Jackson. Ms. Jackson credits Killmurray enthusiasm for “waking up” many to the benefits of a well-supported library.

“He brought together a lot of people from the church and the township. He was a terrific guy.”

Award-winning Community Leader

While serving on the Library Board, Killmurray also served as a Township Councilman beginning in 2003, eventually serving as Deputy Mayor. He was elected Mayor in 2017 and served until his passing in 2018.

“Our good friend Christopher Killmurray was a champion of the Library. It really was one of his primary cares in public life,” said Mayor Charles Carley (quote from The South Brunswick Patch on the Nov. 10, 2020).

The list of his civic endeavors is long and demonstrates how Killmurray was active in every facet of the South Brunswick Community. He was recognized often for his countless hours volunteering on committees and boards for: his church, various Irish organizations, YMCA, VFW, Boy Scouts, local sports, the Police, and of course local government and the Library.

His life was one of immeasurable service to others.

Charles Carley with Christopher J. Killmurray

Career and Home

Councilman Joe Camarota, Christopher Killmurray & Mayor Frank Gambatese

Killmurray was a 1987 graduate of Rutgers University Camden School of Law and was a partner in the law firm of Hoagland, Longo, Moran, Dunst & Doukas in the firm’s Employment and Civil Rights Litigation Section.

He was selected by the Middlesex County Bar Association, and the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in the Law, as a recipient of the 2016 Professional Lawyer of the Year Award.

Killmurray found respite in the Dayton area home he enjoyed with his wife Karen and their four children. The family could usually be found together out and about for community activities.

Service to Others Continues Immortal

Even in death, Killmurray’s altruism shone brightly. In lieu of flowers, mourners were asked to instead give their donations to the South Brunswick Public Library and the South Brunswick Food Pantry.

It was that constant selfless commitment to the service of others that has made Killmurray’s memory immortal; the building dedication is a reflection of that mutual love and respect.

Christopher J. Killmurray’s obituary can be viewed here.

Article written by Rosemary Gohd, SBPL on March 26th, 2021