Octavio “Tave” Padilla, a member of the Newark Board of Education, died Wednesday, Nov. 25 at University Hospital in Newark. He was 57 years old. News reports indicated that he suffered a stroke last week.
“During my years as the Essex County Executive Superintendent, I had the pleasure of knowing and working with Tave,” said Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, NJSBA executive director. “His great personality, coupled with an enormous commitment to ‘everything Newark,’ was awe-inspiring. He loved serving on the Newark Board of Education because it gave him the opportunity to positively affect the lives of children.”
Tave Padilla joined the Newark Board of Education in 2016, was re-elected in 2019 and acted as chair of the Operations Committee, vice-chair of the Fiscal Committee and also sat on the Governance Committee. He was active in the Essex County School Boards Association.
A native of Newark, he was the co-director of Youth Development and Recreation for The North Ward Center in North Newark for 16 years. He also worked at Casa Israel Adult Medical Day Program, assisting seniors. His service includes working as an aide to New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney, a legislative aide to state Senator Nellie Pou, and as chief of staff to Assemblyman Wilfredo Caraballo. He served on the boards of various community-based organizations, including sports and cultural organizations. His years of volunteer coaching began with his son Andre’s baseball and basketball teams.
In recent years, he was heavily involved in the planning and execution of Newark’s Puerto Rican Day Parade and annual gala. He was also a small business owner in Newark, running a successful shoe store on Board Street, and later on Halsey Street for 20 years.
He was predeceased by his father, Elias, and is survived by his mother, Carmen, daughter Elysha Vega and her husband Edwin, son Andre Padilla, his granddaughter Isabelle Vega, siblings Elias, Manda, Mari, Elisa, and Fernando, and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. Arrangements are by the Zarro Funeral Home, 145 Harrison St., Bloomfield. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The North Ward Center, 346 Mt. Prospect Ave. Newark, N.J. 07104.