Roger Joseph Cleary, 66, passed away on Wednesday, September 6, 2023, at home surrounded by his loving family. Roger was born in New York City, NY to Thomas Cleary and Margaret Whalen. He grew up in Staten Island, NY, and attended St. Peter’s Boys’ High School, where his mother taught. He and his mother then moved to Wall Township, NJ, where he graduated from Monmouth College with a degree in Business.
Out of college, Roger began his 45-year career as a sales representative with Keebler. Climbing up the “cookie ranks,” he worked much of his career as the marketing manager for the company’s Northeast region. Wielding his power, his Shark River Hills neighbors would come to regularly expect a box of cookies at their doorstep and a warm hello.
Roger met Kathy, the love of his life, in the summer of 1987, where he proposed water skiing as a first date. She said no. Thankfully, he came back with a second offer for dinner, which she graciously accepted. They were married for 35 years and had two wonderful sons. Roger’s family was his pride and joy.
Roger and Kathy were often seen walking hand in hand along the shoreline in Avon by the Sea. Roger loved annual summer vacations to Long Beach Island, his Boston Terriers’ Sox and Casey, Duke basketball, the New York Yankees and an ice, cold beer. Some of his fondest memories included coaching the neighborhood baseball team and rooting on his two sons in cross country races.
Roger was a runner himself. His love for running began in high school and lasted for his entire life. Roger ran 10 miles a day, 7 days a week, for 35 years. He would tell his family, “You know, that’s far enough to run around the world more than a couple times.” The only thing more consistent than his morning run was the love he had for his family.
Roger was a man of faith. He was a communicant of St. Rose Roman Catholic Church in Belmar, NJ, where he ushered and served on the Pastoral Council. Roger will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Roger is predeceased by his mother, Margaret, his stepfather, Wesley Sholl, and his sister, Joann Heneghan.
Surviving is his loving wife, Kathleen, sons Christian and Patrick, and nephew, Brian Heneghan.
A viewing will be held Sunday, September 10, 2023 from 1pm-5pm at the O’Brien Funeral Home, 2028 Highway 35 at New Bedford Road, Wall. A Funeral Mass will be offered on Monday, September 11th at 10:30 a.m. at Saint Rose Roman Catholic Church, 603 7th Avenue, Belmar followed by the interment at Greenwood Cemetery in Brielle.
The Cleary family would appreciate donations in memory of Roger to the V Foundation for Cancer Research, 14600 Weston Parkway, Cary, NC 27513 or https://donate.v.org/