Kenneth J. Urgovitch, a longtime resident of Clifton, NJ, passed away peacefully at his home on March 3, 2021 just a few hours shy of his 88th birthday.
Ken was predeceased by his high school sweetheart and wife of 64 years, Barbara (nee Marchini) Urgovitch, who passed away in July 2020; his beloved daughter Mary Ellen Brophy; his three dear sisters: Irene Norman, Gladys Mamola, and Bernice Jennings; and his dearly missed son-in-law Wayne De Bartolo.
He is survived by five children: Kenneth Urgovitch, Beth De Bartolo, Susan Bush, AnneMarie (Mimi) Urgovitch, and Kimberly Kastner (Scott). Ken was also the cherished grandfather to four grandchildren Dana, Matthew, Graydon and Cooper.
Born and raised in Garfield, Ken was a graduate of Garfield High School. During his years at GHS, he had a successful athletic career which earned him six Varsity letters in both football and track. Ken’s dedication to athletics led him to the well-deserved title of football co-captain where he led the team in tackles, earned himself a place on the Passaic Valley All Stars and also honorable mentions at both the state and county levels. Ken’s hard work did not go unnoticed as his talent on the field and good academic standing earned him a full scholarship to play at North Carolina State.
During his time with State, Ken continued to excel on the field and in the classroom. He earned 3 Varsity letters as a 2 way tackle and was selected to the first team Atlantic Coast Conference as a junior in 1954. That same year, when the Wolfpack met Army at West Point, one of Army’s coaches was the great Vince Lombardi.
Ken graduated from NC State in 1955 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. Despite offers from the Chicago Bears and US Air Force football team, Ken chose a flying career which was a lifelong ambition. After participating in the ROTC program at State, Ken joined the United States Air Force where he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant. He earned his pilot wings in 1956 and flew jet aircraft, particularly B-47 bombers, for the next four years. Ken’s love of flying never went away. He could often be found following the USAF Thunderbirds and attending shows to see them fly.
After being discharged from the Air Force, Ken’s education and experience led him to a fulfilling 33 year career as an Engineer with Allied-Bendix Corp in Teterboro. He held various positions at Allied-Bendix which included Director of Manufacturing for Test Systems Division and Program Manager of a major weapon system for the USAF until his retirement in 1993. Ken went on to consult for Exogen, Inc. where he worked as an Engineering Manager. His incredible career led him to eight patents related to engineering design in aerospace systems and medical products.
Although it sounds like Ken’s life was all work and no play, he enjoyed many hobbies such as spending time in his workshop where he created various KenKrafts, working on his computer in his office, flying planes through flight simulators, and spending time at his 2nd home on Long Beach Island. Days on LBI included enjoying good food, surf fishing, tossing the football with his grandkids and entertaining family or friends. Ken could also be found on the sidelines of his grandchildren’s athletic events or watching the NY Giants on the weekends.
Above all, the one thing that brought Ken joy was caring for his family and ensuring they always had food in their bellies. He could often be found in various bakeries or grocery stores, picking up things such a donuts and crumb cake, to deliver to his children and grandchildren. He was also famous for his Saturday morning hot bagel deliveries which the family will miss terribly.
The family will welcome condolences at 9:00am and will hold a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00am on Friday, March 19, 2021 at St. Bonaventure’s Church (174 Ramsey Street at Danforth Avenue, Paterson, NJ). Social distancing and masks are required. Inurnment immediately to follow at George Washington Memorial Park (Corner of Paramus Road and Century Road, Paramus, NJ). In lieu of flowers, a memorial donation can be made in his name to the Jetty Rock Foundation at www.jettylife.com/pages/jetty-rock-foundation, by texting JETTYROCK to 41444 or sending a check to 509 N Main Street, Unit 3, Manahawkin, NJ 08050.
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Jetty Rock Foundation
509 N. Main Street, Unit 3, Manahawkin NJ 08050