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Longtime Fort Lee Mayor Jack Alter Passes Away At 79

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Longtime Fort Lee Mayor Jack Alter, 79, passed away in his sleep Monday morning while waiting to undergo cardiovascular surgery at a local hospital. NY1’s Christine Sico filed the following report on a man who was about to complete his 22nd year serving the borough.

The borough of Fort Lee is mourning the death of longtime leader Jack Alter. While his chair at Borough Hall sits empty, those who knew him are filled with memories.

"He was my friend, my mentor and a leader of the town,” said Fort Lee Borough Administrator Peggy E. Thomas. “He will be missed."

Alter began his political career in 1989 as a member of the borough council. He became mayor three years later, and has held onto the post ever since.

"He's been nothing but the best, as far as decision making and whatever he did,” said Kay Nest, chairwoman of the Democratic Organization. ”I have always felt that he was ethical and honest and to me that's exactly what we've always want in a mayor."

The retired businessman served as a Bergen County freeholder in 2001. He later went on to serve as commissioner on the state's Board of Public Utilities.

But it's his contribution to the borough of Fort Lee that many say will be his lasting legacy.

"The benefit that he brought to the town, in parks and culture and museums, will outlive him,” said Fort Lee Cultural Affairs Administrator Tommy Meyers. “People are happy to have low taxes, but there's more to government than just providing low taxes. You have to have something to leave as a legacy and I think he did."

A funeral was held Tuesday morning at the Jewish Community Center on Anderson Avenue.

Alter’s family has asked that donations be made in lieu of flowers for those who wish to honor his memory. Such donations can be sent to the Fort Lee Community Fund at 309 Main Street in Fort Lee, Jewish Family Services at 1485 Teaneck Road in Teaneck, or the Jewish Community Center at 1449 Anderson Avenue in Fort Lee.

- Christina Sico
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