Mary Curtin Creaser of Montclair, who had a long and distinguished career in health care and was an active volunteer in the township, died of colon cancer on Friday, May 20, 2022, at her home. She was 55.
The daughter of Janice (Fox) and Patrick Curtin, Mrs. Creaser was born in Dover, grew up in Hackettstown and later lived in Jersey City, Norwalk and Stamford, Connecticut, and the Gramercy Park neighborhood in Manhattan before settling in Montclair.
She attended Hackettstown High School and graduated from The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, with a BA in English and experience in Washington, DC, serving the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues with a focus on women’s and childhood health policy.
Her professional life cast her into Manhattan, where she quickly settled in the global health-care practice of communications company Fleishman-Hillard, working there for more than 17 years and rising to senior vice president and partner. She managed engagements and award-winning teams across the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.
An interest in community health care led Mrs. Creaser to pursue graduate studies in health policy, nutrition and nursing. She earned a master’s in health-care administration from Seton Hall University and was presented with the university’s MHA Servant Leadership Award in recognition of her outstanding achievements in service to others.
With her advanced degree, she joined RWJBarnabas Health’s Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville, where she designed and brought no-cost, Medicare-funded annual wellness visits to seniors in Essex, Bergen and Hudson counties, an initiative recognized by the New Jersey Hospital Association with a Community Outreach Award.
Mrs. Creaser’s passion for health-care and patient advocacy led her to join Novartis Oncology in East Hanover, where, as global director of communications, she worked with scientists, patients, doctors, nurses and other health-care experts around the world to advance the understanding of cancer and put a spotlight on the needs of patients and their loved ones.
She cared deeply for others and how she could play a part in improving the health of people around the world, especially people with cancer. This opportunity introduced her to countless colleagues that she cherished.
Mrs. Creaser’s service to others included volunteering in Montclair. She served as a merit badge coordinator and fundraising lead with Troop 12 of the Boy Scouts of America; taught religious education at Immaculate Conception Church; was a past board member of JAZZ HOUSE KiDS, and chaired the swim committee, participated on the membership committee and served on the board of Bradford Bath & Tennis Club.
She also held numerous volunteer and alliance-building roles in the Montclair public school district for more than 15 years — from Parent-Teacher-Administrator team member to School Action Team chair. She was passionate about launching initiatives that addressed the educational needs of all students, such as no-cost tutoring during the school day.
Mrs. Creaser helped raise three happy and healthy children who, in her image, are confident in pursuing their unique passions, advocating for themselves and expressing their love of one another, love that helped a family share in life’s pleasures and endures its hardships.
She is survived by her husband, Tom; her three children, James, Caroline and Diana; father, Patrick; sister, Alison, and three nieces and nephews, Eileen, Anna and Miles.
She was predeceased by her mother, Janice.
A wake will be held on Tuesday, May 31, from 4 to 8 pm at Caggiano Memorial Home for Funerals, 62 Grove St. A funeral Mass will be said on Wednesday, June 1, at 10 am at Immaculate Conception Church, 30 North Fullerton Ave., with interment to follow at Immaculate Conception Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations in remembrance of Mrs. Creaser can be made to support cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: giving.mskcc.org.