Mary Venditti, who served on the Cranford Board of Education, died at home on Nov. 29. She was 66.

She began her volunteer work in the Cranford public school system as president of the Brookside Place School PTA, and then went on to be president of the Cranford High School PTA.

She served the Cranford Board of Education for 18 years, spending 15 of those years as the board president. While on the board, she served on numerous committees, including Superintendent Search, Policy, Curriculum, Guidance and Student Affairs, Finance, Building and Grounds, Personnel, Athletic, Special Committee on Enrollment, Public Relations, Technology, Professional Development, Township Committee Liaison, Recreation/Youth Advisory, and Senior Citizen Advisory.  She also served as chairperson of several of the committees. She retired from the board in 2015.

“Simply stated, Mary Venditti was a quality human being, and one of the most decent individuals I have ever known,” said Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, NJSBA executive director. “I had the pleasure of working with her when I was Cranford superintendent and she was board president, and I can tell you that her most frequent question was: ‘Is it good for kids?’  The needs of children were always at the center of her decision-making.”

She was also active in the Union County School Boards Association, serving as vice president and president. She was an alternate on the NJSBA Board of Directors, and was a member of the NJSBA Legislative Committee. She also served as her board’s representative to the NJSBA Delegate Assembly.

Mary Venditti was awarded the Certified Board Member and the Master Board Member accreditation from NJSBA’s Board Member Academy.

She was active in other community groups, including as co-founder and member of the Cranford Fund for Education Excellence, a board member of the Parent-Teacher Council, president of the Cranford Garden Club, and a board member of the Cranford Historical Association and the Hansen Park Conservancy.

She is survived by her husband of 45 years, Michael Venditti Jr., her three sons, Michael III and his wife Shannon; Matthew and his wife Catherine; and Christopher and his wife Leah. She is also survived by her four grandchildren, Elena, Sienna, Matthew Jr. and Irene Venditti.

Memorial donations may be made to the Cranford Fund for Education Excellence or the Parent Teacher Council.

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