Gloria Fischer McHale, 82, of Little Silver and formerly of Hamilton Gardens Neptune, departed this life on Saturday, May 14, peacefully at home. Gloria was born in Newark on June 21, 1933 and grew up on Greylock Parkway in Belleville with her parents and five siblings. She graduated from Belleville High School where she was a scholar-athlete, and completed business school contemporaneously with her final year of high school.
Gloria was immediately hired at International Telephone and Telegraph in Nutley. She was quickly promoted to project director and was among the only women and the youngest director cleared for “top secret” work on the Atlas and Mercury Missile projects.
In August 1956 she married Joseph McHale, decorated World War II veteran and former POW. She was widowed 10 years later. After the death of her husband, Gloria’s passion and priority remained raising her three children.
After moving to Neptune, although forced to work outside the home, she maintained a schedule that allowed her to be home each afternoon to be involved in afterschool activities. Gloria coached girl’s softball, and never missed a baseball, field hockey or soccer game. She was intensely proud that both her son, Michael, and daughter, Barbara, were Neptune High School “Press Athletes of the Week,” a reflection of her commitment as a single parent.
She worked at the John B. Wright and Garrabrant Agencies in Asbury Park and then Sea Girt, obtaining her licensure as an insurance underwriter. Through her work, she was well-known and respected throughout the Monmouth County community for her professionalism.
Gloria was a founding parishioner of Holy Innocents Parish, Neptune, where she served in multiple volunteer roles including Chair of the Rosary Altar Society.
After Gloria’s retirement, she remained an avid sports enthusiast. She cheered on Team USA Women’s soccer; her New York Rangers and the Duke Blue Devils.
She was devoted to her seven grandchildren. “Nana” was known and loved by all of their friends and continued to be a loving influence in their lives.
In addition to her husband, she was predeceased by her parents, Emily Schulze Fischer and Leonard P. Fischer; her sister, Ruth Fischer Hargrave; her brothers, Clarence L. Fischer and Robert P. Fischer; and nephew, Philip Hargrave. Gloria is survived by her three children, Patricia McHale Apy and husband David of Little Silver, Michael J. McHale and Carla Openshaw of Melrose Massachusetts, and Barbara McHale Bongiovanni and husband Joseph of Wall, seven grandchildren, Emily Powell of Richmond, Virginia, David Jr. and Daniel Apy of Little Silver, Joseph Bongiovanni and Jacyln Loyer of Avon-by-the Sea, Christopher and Nicholas Bongiovanni of Wall and Morgan McHale of Milford, Connecticut. She is also survived by her sister, Lenore Scott of California; and loving nieces and nephews, particularly Kathy Hargrave Kurpiecki and William of Neptune.
The funeral mass will be held on Friday, May 20 at 10 a.m. at the Church of the Precious Blood, Monmouth Beach. Father Robert Keading will be officiating. Visitation will be held on Thursday, May 19 at Ely Funeral Home, Hwy. 33 in Neptune. A private burial will follow at Fairview Cemetery, Middletown.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Holiday Express, 968 Shrewsbury Ave., Tinton Falls NJ 07724 or at www.holidayexpress.org.
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