Obituaries

 Barbara Petrick
Born: 08/14/2017
Died: 08/13/2017
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Barbara Petrick

Jersey City native, historian, teacher, author, activist, wife and mother Barbara (nee Burns) Petrick, PhD, died Sunday at home following a long illness.
 
A popular figure among many students with an occasional flare for the dramatic in the classroom, Mrs. Petrick was a teacher at St. Joseph’s Grammar School and, later, Dickinson High School in Jersey City, where she rose to become chair of the school’s History Department toward the end of her tenure. Mrs. Petrick taught full-time and raised three children while simultaneously pursuing her extensive graduate studies at night for more than a decade.
 
A graduate of St. Aloysius Academy in Jersey City and the College of St. Elizabeth at Convent Station, Mrs. Petrick went on to receive a master’s degree in history from then-Jersey City State College (now New Jersey City University), and her doctorate in history from Rutgers College in New Brunswick.
 
Petrick’s master’s thesis, “Mary Philbrook, The Radical Feminist in New Jersey”, about New Jersey’s first woman lawyer, was published by the New Jersey Historical Society 1981. In an interview with The New York Times in 1998, Petrick said of her search for graduate work in the 1970s, “I was not interested in women’s history. I was really an English major and teacher. But I had three small children and couldn’t travel very far. It was the old story of women.” So, she explained, she went to Jersey City State College, which had no graduate program in English but did have one in history.
 
What fascinated her about Philbrook as a thesis subject, she said, was that she happened to attend Dickinson High School and did social work in the parish where Mrs. Petrick grew up. “She lived a few blocks away. You couldn't get more local than that. I really identified with her,'' she said.
 
Other published academic works include “Church and School in the Immigrant City: A Social History of Public Education in Jersey City 1804-1930” and “Jersey City Landmarks.”
 
A passionate advocate for historic preservation, Mrs. Petrick was among city activists involved with the restoration of the Old Hudson County Courthouse and the preservation of the Jersey City reservoir, among many other causes. She was as familiar a presence on the opinion pages of The Jersey Journal and the New York Times as she was at local City Council meetings, where she would often stay late into the night to speak out about various issues. Mrs. Petrick was also a fierce supporter and champion of Jersey City’s public libraries and New Jersey Room, and of public libraries in general.
 
She was instrumental in helping to found the Sgt. Anthony Park Neighborhood Association, whose establishment led to the overhauling and beatification of the Heights section park’s decaying concrete landscape. Almost up until her death, Mrs. Petrick held an annual Memorial Day wreath-raising ceremony at the park, where she gave talks about Anthony and offered remembrances of other war heroes who once lived on and round Palisade Avenue.
A frequent invited speaker at state historic events, Mrs. Petrick was awarded the New Jersey Historical Commission’s Richard J. Hughes Award for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement 1997. The award honors individuals and organizations that have helped to preserve and increase awareness of New Jersey’s history. In 2010, the Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy awarded Mrs. Petrick its Jersey City Legend Award at a reception at the Loew’s Theater,
 
Mrs. Petrick spent her retirement travelling the world and splitting her time between her home in Jersey City and her second residence in Point Pleasant Beach, where she was in home hospice care at the time of her death. She is survived by her husband, Thomas Petrick; her children, Mary Catherine Petrick- Orrok, of Point Pleasant Beach, William Petrick, of Jersey City and John Petrick, of Jersey City; five grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
 
There will be no visitation at McLaughlin Funeral Home.  A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday at St. Joseph’s Church, 511 Pavonia Avenue, Jersey City, at 10:30 a.m.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to New Jersey Room of the Jersey City Free Public Library. 472 Jersey Avenue, Jersey City, NJ. 

 
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Here are some special memories shared by family and friends.
To the Family of Barbara Petrick, So sorry to learn about the loss of your Dear Loved One, Barbara. Please know that so many people share your grief with you to help you through this difficult time of sorrow. Please accept my deepest condolences as we await the time when Christ Jesus will awaken all of those who have fallen asleep in death; including your Beloved, Barbara. (John 11:41-44)
J. Moore/Volunteer
Sorry for the loss of your one, at a future time the Bible promises all those asleep in death will be awaken in the resurrection hope, (Acts 24:15).
Rodney Veinotte
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