Metuchen mourns longtime resident, community servant

 FILE PHOTO Retired Superior Court Judge Richard F. Plechner swears in Stanley E. Lease Jr. to a Borough Council seat in 2011. FILE PHOTO Retired Superior Court Judge Richard F. Plechner swears in Stanley E. Lease Jr. to a Borough Council seat in 2011. METUCHEN — A former councilman with a long history of community service has died.

Stanley E. Lease, Jr., 79, a 50-year Metuchen resident, died Sept. 2 at JFK Medical Center, according to his obituary.

“It’s a loss for the town,” Mayor Thomas Vahalla said. “He’s always been a Metuchen person.”

Along with serving as a Republican appointee to the Metuchen Borough Council, Lease had served as a member and chairman of the Planning Board.

“I considered him a political friend, even though we were in opposing parties,” Vahalla said of the retired elementary school teacher and Korean War veteran. “Stanley and I didn’t always agree, but we learned to work together. … And I appreciate everything he brought to the table.”

Lease was the owner and president of Lease Realty Property, a prominent real estate company in Metuchen.

He also served for many years as president of Kiddie Keep Well Camp, an Edison summer camp that welcomes about 600 children from underprivileged backgrounds each year at no cost to their families.

“He was really devoted to Kiddie Keep Well,” retired Superior Court Judge Richard F. Plechner, a longtime friend of Lease, said, adding that he got the camp back on its feet after becoming president.

“He was very supportive of all the veterans groups,” Plechner said.

A member of the VFW and Metuchen Elks Lodge 1914, Lease also belonged to the Metuchen American Legion Fugle Hummer Post, and contributed time and effort to working with the developer of the Pearl Street parking lot on the relocation of the post to a newly built location, according to Vahalla. In addition, Lease was a past president of the Northern Jersey chapter of the Association of the United States Army, along with being an associate member of the Vietnam Veterans of America.

“It is a real blow … to a lot of people, because Stanley did a lot of good,” Plechner said of his friend’s death, adding that he still feels the shock of the loss. “He was one of the most civic-minded people I know — he was devoted to his friends, to Metuchen and to doing good for other people.

“He was the kind of guy that was always a real gentleman. He was interested in people, and he was kind to people.”

Lease is survived by his wife, June Lease; two sons, John Lease and his wife Maria of Metuchen, and Jeffrey Lease of Australia; two grandsons, Maximilian E. Lease and Sebastian J. Lease; and his mother, Pauline Lease of Metuchen.

Visitation is set for 10-11 a.m. Sept. 11 at the Flynn and Son/Koyen Funeral Home, 319 Amboy Ave., Metuchen. Funeral services will follow at 11 a.m. in the funeral home. Interment will be at Hillside Cemetery in Metuchen.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Kiddie Keep Well Camp at For directions or to send a message of condolence, visit