The Union County Freeholders and State Senator Nicholas P. Scutari recently joined with legislators as well as municipal officials, friends and family members in dedicating Charlotte DeFilippo Park on Liberty Avenue in Hillside.
“Charlotte was raised here and lived most of her life in Hillside,” said Senator Nicholas P. Scutari, who emceed the event. “From humble roots, she became one of the state’s most influential leaders, and her governmental and civic career spanned six decades at the local and county government levels.”
DeFilippo grew up on Liberty Avenue, not far from the county park now dedicated in her name. She passed away in 2017.
State Senator Joseph Cryan (D-21); Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski; Freeholder Angela Garretson; Sheriff Peter Corvelli; DeFilippo’s long-time friend JoAnn Schwab (and also retired Union County Deputy Surrogate); and DeFilippo’s son, Michael, participated in the ceremony.
Freeholder Chair Kowalski said: “Charlotte was ahead of her time. She was recruiting women in government long before the Me Too movement. I will be forever grateful to her for sharing her stories and advice. She helped to shape a generation of leaders around the State of New Jersey.”
Freeholder Garretson said: “Charlotte was a visionary and a brilliant strategist, whose mentorship and leadership set a very high bar for all of us. While she never sought attention for it, Charlotte was also a trailblazer and a role model for many women who pursued a career in public life.’
Later in her life, DeFilippo served for more than a decade as the Director of the Union County Improvement Authority where she worked to create a legacy of public projects that transformed both Union County and its municipal governments, and provided service to all citizens at every level of society.
Charlotte DeFilippo Park is located directly across from Hillside High School. The scenic park is set beside the Elizabeth River and contains a softball field and basketball court.