LINDEN—Mike Chengeri, a long time resident of Linden who has been active in civic and fraternal organizations as well as a volunteer for various associations and charities, has been chosen as Linden’s 33rd annual Outstanding Senior Citizen of the Year.
This award is bestowed annually by the Linden Department of Public Property and Community Services upon the senior citizen who displayed the most exceptional service to the community and his or her fellow seniors during the year.
Chengeri was born on April 11, 1926 in Perth Amboy. His family moved to Linden two short years later and he has been a Lindenite since. Chengeri is a graduate of School No. 7 Tremley, Soehl Middle School and Linden High School, Class of 1944.
His friends and neighbors like to say that when you need a helping hand or when something needs to be repaired or when you simply need a shoulder to lean on, that’s when you can depend on Chengeri, a man with a big heart.
From the start, Chengeri has always been a dedicated contributor. After graduating high school, he gave his heart to his country by joining the United States Navy and served during World War II as a gunner and boatswain mate third class. While home on leave, Chengeri continued to give his heart when he attended a church function and met his future bride, Mary Cipala, who was visiting from Pennsylvania.
Chengeri and Cipala married and raised three children, Mary Ann, Cheryl and Michael. As their children grew, Chengeri dedicated his heart to their guidance by getting involved with them at all levels of scouting.
Chengeri worked for Exxon USA and Exxon Chemicals USA for 34 years retiring in 1986 as a supervisor in building maintenance. He was also president of Exxon Annuitants of Sunnyside. A proud resident of Linden for 81 years, Chengeri has served six years as a 9th Ward Democratic Committeeman, and as a member of the Linden Zoning Board of Variance for 12 years, two as chairman.
One of Chengeri’s greatest services is to his church, Calvin Presbyterian at 128 Arthur Street, Linden. He’s been an integral part of “Calvin” in many aspects. He sang in the church choir, was ordained an elder and chaired many committees, while still helping with the building maintenance. Not only does Chengeri take care of the physical part of the church but he is also dedicated to the spiritual guidance of the children. He was a Sunday school teacher and the youth fellowship advisor for many years.
Chengeri is also actively involved as a Master Mason in Lafayette Lodge #27 of the Free and Accepted Masons where he received his 50 year pin this year. He is also affiliated with the Scottish Rite Valley of Central New Jersey as a 32nd Degree Mason. At 83, Mike still loves giving of his heart. He is actively involved as an officer in LINCS Food Bank for the past 12 years located at St. Paul’s Church in Linden.
All Linden residents are invited to attend the celebration honoring Mike Chengari as Linden’s Outstanding Senior Citizen of the Year on Friday, May 15, at the John T. Gregorio Recreation Center at 1 p.m. Refreshments will be served.
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