Full Name: Carol Bederka
Date of Death: Friday, July 14, 2023
Carol Bederka—a devout Democrat, fan of Jersey diners and takeout Chinese food, and loving daughter, mom, grandma, sister, and aunt—passed away peacefully on July 14. She was 74.
While it’s easy to focus on her Third Act, one filled with chronic pain and frequent suffering, it doesn’t sum up my mom’s full life. Born and raised on the not-so-mean streets of Bayonne, N.J., Carol went to Jersey City State College to study biology and protest the Vietnam War. She always joked that an FBI file lurked out there on her.
Soon after, she met my dad, Bob, at a mutual friend’s party. They had a few fun years before I came along and ruined it all. We spent those early times going to zoos, driving to Avalon and LBI, and doing all the goofy, stupid stuff families do together.
Tragically, my dad died in 1988, crashing her world and mine. Years ago, she told me, “Every day is February 13.” The day he died.
Maybe ironically, I believe her greatest strength lay here. From age 9, she raised me by herself to become this brilliant, handsome, charming man you see typing this obituary. But seriously, I do owe my life to her. Through her unwavering support, I became the man with this brilliant, handsome, charming *family*—my wife, Paige, and my kids, Sam and Evelyn.
In Carol’s golden years, her grandchildren became the center of her life. She loved seeing them so she could pepper the two with questions on their latest milestones and accomplishments. (She also would scold me when I didn’t remember their HALF-birthdays, which is something she would have a miraculous, odd knack to recall.)
And while these last years robbed Carol of much of her physical strength, her mind stayed exquisitely sharp. She absorbed current events and politics like a sponge and would often ask if I heard the news about the latest horrible thing to happen around the world.
Carol persevered when my dad died, but when her sister, Dorothy, passed away earlier this year, the pain engulfed her. Lifelong friends and gossipers, they spoke on the phone every night—when they didn’t bicker as roommates. When Dorothy died, Carol’s light grew dim.
We love you, Mom. We know you’re now at peace. Thank you for everything.
***A private family service will be held at Washington Cemetery in Monmouth Junction, N.J. Shiva for friends, family, and enemies will be held at the Bederka House at 4 Breslin Ave., Haddonfield, N.J., from about 1:30 p.m. on Monday, July 17, until the bagels run out. In lieu of flowers, please make donations in her memory to the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. https://www.lwvnj.org***