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John “Jack” McDermott, Former OLL Pastor


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John (Jack) Francis McDermott, 88, of Sarasota, Florida died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 at the Allendale Community for Senior Living.

Jack was born November 5, 1932 in Dublin, Ireland, the first child of Delia (Nee Regan) and John McDermott. The family settled in Newark after leaving Ireland for the U.S. After Jack graduated from Seton Hall Prep, he entered the Newark diocesan seminary, Immaculate Conception in Darlington. He was ordained a Catholic priest on May 25, 1957.

Father Jack served as pastor of Our Lady of the Lake parish in Verona from 1957 to 1976. He then became pastor of Church of the Presentation in Upper Saddle River from 1976 to 1998. During his ministry as a priest he worked tirelessly to develop a caring, faith-filled, community in each parish. Under his leadership, both parishes thrived with Jack sharing leadership and vision with enthusiastic parishioners. Jack researched and introduced many vibrant programs, especially a lay leadership training program called The Butterfly Weekend, Christian Family Movement, Young Christian Students, Cornerstone, a parish weekend retreat, Cursillo and Small Christian Communities among many others. Throughout his ministry and upon his retirement, thousands of parishioners wrote letters of affirmation for the many generous ways Jack had influenced their lives for good.

In 1998, Jack left Presentation to devote himself to fundraising for RENEW lnternational, a Catholic organization which develops vibrant parishes around the world. To support RENEW, Jack traveled on mission trips to both lndia and Africa.

In 2001, Jack retired from the priesthood and he moved to Sarasota. In 2005 Jack married Carol Reilly. Together they enjoyed travel, sharing ministry projects at their Florida parish and spending many fulfilling times with family and friends. Several years ago, when Jack’s illness began and progressed, Carol was by his side each day and lovingly cared for him.

Jack is survived by his wife, Carol, his brother, Ed, his sister, Maeve, a religious Sister of Charity, sisters-in-law Peggy and Wallis, nephews John, Eddie, Ryan and Aran McDermott, niece Mary McDermott Fierabend, and nine grandnephews and grandnieces. Jack’s parents, Delia and John, and his brother, Joe, predeceased him.

Visitation will be held on Monday, October 25, 2021 from 2 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m. at Church of the Presentation in Upper Saddle River. A funeral mass will be celebrated on Tuesday, October 26, 2021 at 10 a.m. at Church of the Presentation. The funeral mass will be live streamed and can be viewed here. Entombment will follow at the chapel at Maryrest Cemetery in Mahwah, N.J.

Jack’s life here on earth was his “Gospel Story”. A website has been created in Jack’s name to inspire your gospel story. Please visit and may we all be inspired to live our fullest gospel story in memory and thanksgiving to God for Jack. A website has been created that will provide more background on Jack’s life and many accomplishments. The website is http://jacksgospelstory.com/.

As an expression of sympathy, memorial contributions may be made to: Compassionate Care Hospice, Amedisys Foundation, 3854 American Way, Suite A, Baton Rouge, LA 70816 (Donation to Amedisys Foundation); Church of the Presentation, 271 West Saddle River Road, Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458; RENEW International, 1232 George Street, Plainfield, NJ 07062; Our Lady of the Lake, 26 Lakeside Ave, Verona, NJ 07044.

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  1. Our deepest sympathies to Carol and Jack’s family and many friends. He was a special person who made a real positive impact on this world.
    May he rest in God’s eternal peace.
    Anthony and Mabel Esposito
    Longboat Key, Fl


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