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Once again this year, we have lost one of our own. The entire Rotary Club of Pompton Lakes mourns the loss of our fellow Rotarian Fred Kressaty.
 
By DOROTHY O’CONNOR
Correspondent
 
WANAQUE – Fred Kressaty, who took his religion to heart, appreciated his country and cherished his family as well as his community, is remembered this week for the gentle and generous spirit he joyfully shared with all who knew him.
 
Fred Kressaty, 93, of Haskell, died on Friday, August 29, 2014, while vacationing with family at the Jersey shore.
 
Known as a gentleman who possessed the “rare quality of lighting up a room,” fellow Pompton Lakes Rotarian and Superintendent of the Pompton Lakes School District, Dr. Paul Amoroso said, “Fred was so positive and so appreciative and so grateful for every day and everything. He embodied true joy and his approach to life is a lesson for all of us.”
 
Indeed his zest for life shone so brightly in this very special man, said Rotarian Mary Hamilton. “Fred always was so upbeat and positive .... he spread so much love and  good friendship throughout the community and he has left many fond memories,” she said.
 
It was, in fact, just these qualities that Fred’s son, Joe Kressaty, spoke of this past week. “Dad was a generous, giving man who felt it was his duty to give back because he was blessed with a conscience, with patience, with intelligence, and an education; all of which gave him the ability to provide and enrich others’ lives. And he happily gave, and gave, and gave, asking nothing in return, but all along enriching the lives of his family, friends, colleagues, his community – his entire world – anyone who asked – or didn’t ask.”
 
By example, Joe Kressaty said, Fred created a legacy “that continues to grow and serve this community and the world. Interestingly, my siblings and I chose professions that serve people.” And, he said, “The next generation also understands this, as well as the rightness of honest work.”
 
Fred Kressaty was born and lived in Union City, NJ before moving to Haskell 68 years ago. And it was while working part-time behind the soda fountain at a corner drugstore on Hudson Boulevard in his hometown, when he was just 16-years-old, that Fred decided he wanted to become a pharmacist. So, in 1942, he graduated from Rutgers College of Pharmacy and wasted no time in founding Kressaty’s Pharmacy in a little storefront just across the street from its present location on Ringwood Avenue.
 
With his beloved wife Claire forever at his side, the couple developed a family pharmacy providing care for their community. Eventually they were joined by their daughters, Jeanine and Theresa Kressaty, who are pharmacists and now manage the store, while their sons, John, Joe, Peter and Fred have taken different jobs. But, Joe said, each has chosen a profession that enables them to serve people. “Whether it’s helping people feel better when they’re sick, feel better about how they look, feel better when they need a break, or feel better about their world – we found ourselves in roles where we help people feel better.
 
“Fred had a love of life and a willingness to help others – he was willing to extend a helping hand to all,” said Pompton Lakes Rotarian and Borough Council member Bill Baig. “Most of all he loved his family and enjoyed his friends.  Fred exemplified Rotary's motto ‘Service Above Self’.”
 
It is apparent, said Pompton Lakes Rotary Club President Garry Luciani, that the “Service Above Self” motto has been what Fred Kressaty lived in his professional as well as his personal life. “Fred set the bar for us all very high. He embodied the ideal we all aspire to in our vocations as well as our personal lives. And, he made us laugh – he had a quick, natural wit and, really did light up the room!”
 
In fact, Fred began every Rotary meeting with several trivia questions, designed to entertain as much as to educate. Dr. Amoroso said, “His trivia questions were a highlight of many a Rotary meeting. His questions brought laughter and wonder and wisdom – just like him!”
 
The trivia challenge, at the request of Fred’s family, will be continued in his memory, said President Luciani.
 
Though good natured and easy going, there was an abiding core of strength about Fred that was undeniable. A well respected Army veteran of World War II, Fred saw action in the Battle of the Bulge, then came home to build his business, nurture his family and offer his time to a variety of community organizations.
 
Fred Kressaty was a past member of the Board of Trustees for Chilton Memorial Hospital as well as member and past president of the Rotary Club of Pompton Lakes where he chaired the Gift of Life Program.
 
He was a parishioner and also a 4th Degree Knight in the Knights of Columbus of St. Francis R.C. Church in Haskell, and further served his community as a member of the Chamber of Commerce, Public Library Board and Town Planning Board in Wanaque.
 
Wanaque Mayor Dan Mahler said Fred Kressaty has been a virtual institution in the community, living a public life of productive involvement. And, Mayor Mahler said, Fred never “had anything negative to say about anyone, and Claire is just like Fred. That’s why everyone in town has loved them both. They have had a reputation for doing a little extra to serve their customers. There are many stories about their kindness.
 
“Fred was one of the nicest, kindest people I ever met and he definitely made Wanaque a better town by living here, raising his family here and operating a business here,” said Mayor Mahler.
 
In fact, a few years ago when another, large pharmacy opened just a block away from Kressaty’s  “some people thought that might put Fred’s pharmacy out of business, but, his customers, knowing what kind of person he was, continued to be loyal,” and Kressaty’s, now under the management of Jeannine and Theresa Kressaty, continues to thrive.
 
Deeply appreciative of the quality of her father’s life, Jeannine Kressaty said during the sleepless night following his passing she wrote him a poem: “You went on your own terms; You had your last day; You knocked on God’s door; And he showed you the way; You had peace in your heart; That much I can say; We love you and miss you; But it will be OK; Forever in our hearts – always Fred K.”
 
Fred Kressaty is survived by his wife Claire (Akel) Kressaty of Haskell; father of Theresa Kressaty, John Kressaty and wife Heather, Fred Kressaty, Joe Kressaty and wife Annie, Jeannine Kressaty and Michael Macagney, and Peter Kressaty and wife Amy; grandfather of Stephanie Otis and husband Chris, Zach and Isabella Kressaty, Nicole, Jackie and Eric Kressaty, Stephen and Michael Kressaty, Michael, Matthew and Jessica Pankey, Ben, Luke and Nate Kressaty; and great-grandfather of Brooklyn and Madelyn Otis. He also is survived by his brother-in-laws Fred Akel and wife Barbara, and Richard DeFalco; and many nieces and nephews.
 
Fred was predeceased by his brothers, Louis, George and Ted; his sisters Clara, Lillian and Mary; sister-in-law Yvonne (Akel) DeFalco.
 
The D’Agostino Funeral Home, 881 Ringwood Ave., Haskell handled the arrangements.
 
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Friends of the Poor at St. Francis R.C. Church, 868 Ringwood Ave., Haskell, NJ 07420; or the Wanaque First Aid Squad; or Wanaque Volunteer Fire Department.