“Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality”
- Emily Dickinson
Maria G. Harrison, 58, of Metuchen died peacefully in her family’s Highland Park home on Thursday, September 12, 2019. She was surrounded by her loving family.
Maria was a consummate caregiver who was adored by her husband, Bob; daughter, Lea; and son, Robert Jr.
The heartbeat of her home, Maria also shared her warmth and exuberance with her extended family, friends and neighbors. Lovingly known as “Mia” and “Aunt Mimi,” she was that person who added energy to every room she entered. And, to everyone’s joy, her pep was inextinguishable.
Born in New Brunswick on March 7, 1961, she grew up in Highland Park and lived briefly in Edison before moving to Metuchen. She graduated from Highland Park High School and earned a degree in social work from Monmouth University.
Maria had been employed by St. Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick, where she worked in emergency room admitting and medical records. Later, she was a stay-at-home mom. When her children were school age, she returned to the workplace. Then, she worked as a preschool aide, aftercare teacher and vacation Bible school teacher at St. Francis Cathedral School in Metuchen. She also was an administrative assistant and teacher at the Little Treasures Learning Center in Edison. She was active with the St. Joseph High School (Metuchen) Mothers Club.
A faithful parishioner at the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi, she was religious and dedicated to those she loved. She was not only caregiver to her husband and children, but also to her aging grandparents and parents, her siblings and their children.
Maria loved all of the young people in her life. She adored the children in her family but also her children’s friends and the kids in the neighborhood. And, the little ones she taught would not leave her heart when they moved on to higher grade levels, they would always be “her kids.”
Maria was pragmatic, but she was as animated as she was organized. And, those who knew her would agree that her practical nature would sometimes take the back seat to her excitable side. Unquestionably, she could be heard in the stands at sporting events, especially at swim meets and hockey games.
Her home, like her heart, was warm and inviting. And, her neighbors were more like family than simply people who lived nearby. She loved going down the shore and enjoyed time spent with her family and friends at the Point Pleasant house.
In addition to her husband and children, she is survived by her brothers, Albert, Joseph and Michael Garlatti; son-in-law, Joe Girgenti; nephews, Albert, Steven, Michael Jr. and Thomas Garlatti and Cliff and Brendan O’Brien; niece, Elizabeth Ostrowski; brothers-in-law, Scott Harrison, Cliff O’Brien and Joe Ostrowski; sisters-in-law, Trisha Garlatti, Lori Harrison, Linda O’Brien and Debbie Ostrowski; Rob’s girlfriend, Melissa Cabral; many cousins and scores of friends. She was predeceased by her parents, Albert and Angelica Garlatti; and her grandparents, Albert and Emilia Garlatti and Giuseppe and Mary Giorgianni.
Services will be held on Monday, September 16, 2019 at 8:30 AMfrom the Costello Runyon Funeral Home, 568 Middlesex Ave., Metuchen, followed by a 9:00 AM Mass of Christian Burial at the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi, 32 Elm Ave., Metuchen. Interment will follow at St. Gertrude Cemetery. Visitation is Sunday 2-4 & 7-9. To send condolences please visit costello-runyon.com.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Teamwork Unlimited, 53 Ferris Road, Edison, NJ 08817, or St. Francis Cathedral School, 528 Main St. Metuchen, NJ 08840.