Obituaries: Russell Nugent, Beloved Verona Teacher


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Russell E. Nugent, 66, of Cedar Grove, a Verona teacher for 33 years, died Monday, March 29, 2010. At last night’s Board of Education meeting in Verona, board member Michael Unis cited Nugent, who taught him in the fifth grade, as an inspiration for his own teaching career. Unis recalled Nugent dressing up as Superman on Halloween and his fascination with Titanic lore.  “He was a wonderful man,” Unis said.

Nugent, widely known as “Rusty”, was born in Montclair and lived in Cedar Grove for over 63 years. Rusty taught at the H.B. Whitehorne, Forest Avenue and Laning Avenue schools in Verona before retiring in 1999.

He was a member of the Community Church of Cedar Grove and the First Congregational Church of Montclair, and sang in both of their choirs. Rusty was the beloved son of the late Edward and Virginia (Roper) Nugent; loving brother of Sheri Nugent-Ward, Gary Nugent, and the late Bruce Nugent, and dear uncle of Bruce and Laura Nugent.

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Visiting will be on Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. at Shook’s Cedar Grove Funeral Home, 486 Pompton Ave. (Route 23), Cedar Grove. Services are on Friday at 10 a.m. at the Community Church of Cedar Grove, 65 Bowden Rd., Cedar Grove. Cremation is at Rosedale Crematory in Orange.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the Community Church of Cedar Grove, 65 Bowden Rd., Cedar Grove, N.J. 07009.

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Now back in Verona, she contributes to a variety of publications and Web sites, and consults on social media. In Verona, she serves on the Verona Environmental Commission and HBW SCA, and has been part of many other civic and religious groups in town. A graduate of Rutgers University’s Environmental Stewards program, she has also run an after-school program on the environment for elementary school children here. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]


  1. What a wonderful man! He has left us with so much. We were just talking about him the other day.

    When my son Mack was in 4th grade, Mr Nugent came back to teach as a full time sub. We were so lucky to have him. He introduced the class to one of his favorite book series, “Freddy the Pig”. He would read story after story with them on a daily basis. Mr. Nugent noticed how much Mack enjoyed the books and would take extra time to sit and discuss the stories with him. That year during the last week of school, Mack came home with a huge smile on his face. Mr Nugent had signed and given him an original edition of a volume from his own collection.

    Mack is a high school senior now and that book still sits on a shelf in his room. It serves as a reminder of his (still) favorite teacher. We will always remember the special attention he gave to each and every student.


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