William John Gleeson, 83, of Glen Ridge, passed away Thursday November 21, 2019. Son of Dr. William Gleeson and Mrs. Mildred Gleeson (nee Kelly), Bill grew up in Jersey City, but attended St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark. He earned his undergraduate Degree from Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1957. Several years later, he attended Jersey City State College earning a Master’s Degree in English, writing an acclaimed thesis on the poet, Amiri Baraka.
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Bill loved all sports, and was a fixture at the rinks, gyms, and ballfields around town, watching his sons, his daughter, and, especially, his ten grandchildren. A voracious reader, Bill never went anywhere without a classic novel and loved browsing in used book shops. A music buff, he had an eclectic record collection of jazz, folk, classical, Irish traditional, and spoken word poetry.
Bill married his Galway girl, Sally Conneely, at Our Lady of Refuge Church in the Bronx in 1959. Shortly thereafter, he began a high school teaching career at Harry Snyder High School in Jersey City before moving on to Weehawken and Roxbury, retiring after a brief stint as a home instructor in Elizabeth. Along the way, he taught American and British literature at St. Peter’s College, Felician College, Montclair State and William Paterson. In later years, he studied to become an oblate of St. Benedict, seeking a way to enrich his Christian way of life.
Bill was predeceased by his wife, Sally (2008) and his son, Danny (2010), and his sister, Alice McGovern (2019). He is survived by four children; Bill and his wife Donna, Sean and wife Lisette, Brendan and wife Michele, and Kelly; his daughter in law, Marybeth; ten grandchildren, Sean, Liam, Haley, Sara, Michaela, Brendan, Daniel, Owen, Maggie, and Dylan; two great grandchildren, Eamon and Patrick; his sister, Mildred Grady & husband Bob.
Family will receive friends Sunday 1-5 pm at Caggiano Memorial Home, 62 Grove Street, Montclair. Funeral Mass at 10 am on Monday at St. Cassian’s Church, Montclair. Interment at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, East Hanover.