MANASQUAN — John Winterstella, who served as mayor of Manasquan for nearly 20 years, died Wednesday morning at age 82, surrounded by his family, with his two daughters holding his hand.
Kristen Breitweiser said that her father had held on until the last family member had arrived.
“He was very much at peace,” she said.
Ms. Breitweiser and her sister, Judy Razzetti, told The Coast Star about Mr. Winterstella’s strong sense of faith, saying that it gave him comfort in his final hours. Ms. Breitweiser said she was particularly moved and expressed gratitude to Pastor Javier Barroso of the Manasquan United Methodist Church for visiting with her father in his final days.
Ms. Razzetti recalled her father’s love of food, saying he always had a snack stash.
“It gave me great comfort to know that his last meal was a chocolate chip cookie baked by me,” she said.
Mr. Winterstella was born on Oct. 14, 1941 and graduated from Monmouth College, now called Monmouth University. Throughout his years, he served the Manasquan community in numerous capacities, including as a councilman, as a member of the board of education and as mayor.
Mayor Winterstella was first elected to the borough council in 1977, serving one term. He began his long tenure as mayor in 1984, serving in the position all the way until 2003, when he was defeated by Republican Richard Dunne. His nearly 20-year tenure as mayor stands out among borough mayoral tenures, and combined with his other public service kept him an important figure in the borough for decades.
Mr. Winterstella is survived by his wife Gail Winterstella, his sister Virginia Dare Kaplan, his brother Father Joseph Saint Veltri, his two daughters, Ms. Razzetti and Ms. Breitweiser, his son-in-law, Richard A. Razzetti Jr., his two granddaughters, Lauren Razzetti and Caroline Breitweiser, and his grandson Trey Razzetti. He is remembered by his sister-in-law Mary Ellen Mannion and John and Matt Mannion, in addition to his lovable dog, Maggie. Mr. Winterstella was predeceased by his first wife, Judith Oberg Winterstella and his son-in-law Ronald Breitweiser.
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