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Peter Eagler, former Clifton councillor, assemblyman and freeholder, has died at the age of 69

The city lost one of its most dedicated community servants Saturday morning: former Councilman Peter Eagler, who was 69 years old, passed away.

Eagler was first elected to the City Council in 1990. He served until 2022, when he decided not to seek re-election. In between, he was a state assemblyman and Passaic County Freeholder, a position now called commissioner.

He died at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack.

"Peter was a humble and honorable public servant who always thought of people first. He was a man of deep faith in God", said former Mayor James Anzaldi. "He worked tirelessly to welcome people into our diverse community, regardless of their ethnicity, religion or creed". Anzaldi has also decided not to run for re-election in 2022.

Eagler served on the council from 1990 to 2002. In 1996, he was elected to the then-Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders. He served on both elected bodies until 2002. At that time, he resigned from the board and ran for the State Assembly. He was the Assemblyman for the 34th District for two terms.

He ran for city council again in 2006 and won. He also won in 2010, 2014 and 2018. In 2022, while battling cancer, he decided not to run for re-election.

"He was a loyal and good servant to the citizens of Clifton. Other people in public life should follow his example, working with his colleagues to get good things done", Anzaldi said. "We have all lost a very good friend of our hometown".

Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr, D-Paterson, said that "Eagler's sense of civic responsibility to our Clifton community was bottomless and his dedication to helping others was tireless. I extend my love and respect to his family and to all who knew Peter. I am truly grieving today".

As an elected official, Eagler managed two careers in state government. According to his friend Gerald Zecker, a former Clifton mayor and occasional political rival, he worked for the New Jersey Highway Department as a safety inspector and then was in charge of organizing heritage festivals at the Garden State Performing Arts Center, which now bears the name of PNC Bank.

After Eagler left the Assembly, he moved on to work for NJ Transit.

"He was a good guy and a gentleman", Zecker said. "He was respected by both Democrats and Republicans".

According to Zecker, Eagler was born in Clifton, grew up in Garfield and then moved back to Clifton. He graduated from Pope Paul VI High School in Clifton and earned degrees in political science and Russian regional studies from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1976.

He is survived by a sister, Virginia, as well as his parents, David and Olga Eagler, and a brother, John.

Igler's former colleagues on the Clifton City Council say he will be sorely missed.

"Kind and compassionate, he served Clifton with pride and integrity", said Mayor Ray Grabowski. "He was a treasure trove of information both historically and politically. As a councilmember, Peter had a vast knowledge of the workings of our form of government. Peter leaves a big void in the lives of many of us".

Viewing will be held Wednesday from 4 to 8 PM at Shook Funeral Home, 639 Van Houten Ave. in Clifton. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Holy Resurrection Russian Orthodox Church in Wayne. A funeral service will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at the church. An Orthodox service will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at the church, followed by burial at East Ridgelawn Cemetery in Clifton.

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