Ethel McGrath Meola
02/19/1931 - 02/09/2024

Ethel McGrath Meola, 92, of Summit died at home on Friday, February 9, 2024. She faced the end of life with her trademark dignity and intelligence and glimpses of the sense of humor and pragmatism known to all who had the luck to call her friend or family. In accordance with her wishes, she was cremated. The family will welcome visitors on Thursday, February 22nd from 3:30 to 7:30pm at Bradley Brough & Dangler Funeral Home, 299 Morris Ave., Summit, and a celebration of Ethel’s life will be held at St. Patrick Church, 85 Washington Ave., Chatham on Friday, February 23rd at 10:30am. Per Ethel’s style, please do not wear black, because, in her words, “Everyone looks better in bright colors.”

Born in Newark on February 19, 1931, Ethel Mary Margaret McGrath was the beloved daughter of Edward Joseph and Mary Ellen (Mae) Dennin McGrath, and the cherished younger sister of Bernard and Edward. Family trips to Cooks Pond in Denville and to visit cousins in Bay Head and Massachusetts were memories she especially treasured. She passed a love of the beach to her daughters. A proud Bloomfield High School graduate, Ethel went on to earn her degree from Susquehanna University, where she joined the Alpha Delta Pi sorority, and after graduation taught English and Spanish for more than 10 years at Fair Lawn’s Thomas Jefferson Junior High School. At “TJ,” she made friends she kept the rest of her life, including colleagues, students and even, over the years, children of colleagues.

Ethel grew up on Bloomfield’s Floyd Avenue and Ampere Parkway, then moved with her parents to Collins Avenue in the Brookdale section, where their next door neighbors were Alberta and Ralph Meola. Ethel married their son, Nicholas, on July 20, 1963, and retired from teaching when she and Nick had their first daughter a year later. Three more girls followed in the next seven years, by which time the Meolas had planted roots in Summit.

Ethel’s commitment to community service began in her early days of motherhood, and she spent countless hours laboring on behalf of PTAs at Washington Elementary and Summit Junior and Senior high schools (including times as president), was appointed to multiple terms on Summit’s Youth Services Board and Municipal Alliance and dedicated more than 20 years of Tuesdays to helping staff the SAGE Resale Shop.

She valued her church life and “Mass friends” at St. Teresa’s, where she was active in many prayer groups, taught CCD for many years and attended daily early morning services for decades.

When she was younger, Ethel played basketball and skied, road- tripped out West with friends and later in life would watch any sport she was asked to, including a memorable trip to Yankee Stadium that included an incredibly long rain delay. She never turned down an invitation to dine out, whether for a slice of pizza, a drive-through cheeseburger, a bagel or a meal somewhere with linens and silver. Ethel loved – in no particular order – Manasquan, “The West Wing” and “The Good Wife,” every version of “Law & Order,” live theater, White Castle (even the frozen version), hot coffee, quilting, the N.Y. Times crossword puzzle (daily, in pen), jewelry, a well-written op-ed, antiques and a glass of Riesling (with an ice cube), and passed along to her daughters strong feelings about the pleasures of shopping second-hand. Thanks to their mother’s example, all are dedicated readers.

In addition to her husband, Nicholas William Meola, Ethel is survived by her daughters, Patricia and Margaret of Summit, Elizabeth Aaron of Maplewood and Katherine of Rotonda, Fla., a son-in-law she truly adored, Michael Aaron; and two grandsons she loved unconditionally, Nicholas John and Henry Edward Aaron. Some of “Bam’s” happiest times in recent years were spent attending their school and sports events, especially Columbia High School football and St. Joseph’s CYO basketball. Additionally, Ethel is survived by two sisters-in-law who also were dear friends, Marna Darst McGrath and Maryann Meola Giannetti, and their children, Marsha, Diane, Tom and Joan McGrath, and Susan Longacre and Dana Butto.

The Meola family would like to thank everyone who has been a part of Ethel’s life, and her widespread family and friends. Thank you to Jennifer, Patrick, Cole and Raven Latimer, who have truly been part of her chosen family. Having lived in the same house for nearly 60 years, current and former Meola neighbors have provided the entire family with so much support and community, and we thank the Stacks, Dills, Reddys, DiNolas, McGhees, Cara Nicolini and Mark Montgomery, Caroline McIntyre, Elaine Murdock, the Hairstons, Vlasses and all of the Martinis. Ethel especially loved her neighbor dog visits, with special appreciation to Bruno, Piper, Kipper, Teddy and Petunia. Her family thanks her amazing health and care team, including Jesse, Adrian, Rodlyn, Sandra, Tee, Jackson, Claudine, Susan, Dr. Marnie Doubek, Dr. Sandy Yeum, Dr. Sheldon Lin, Dr. Jeffery Leary, Dr. Mark Krell, the staff of Atlantic Rehabilitation in New Providence and most recently the caring and professional staff of Atlantic Health Hospice and Palliative Care. Special thanks go to her recent and dearly treasured friend MJ Davidson.

Donations in Ethel’s memory to the Summit Volunteer First Aid Squad, PO Box 234, Summit NJ 07902, would be appreciated. Its members’ skills and compassion have been invaluable to the family in recent years, and we thank them for their service to the entire community.

*Click here to livestream the Memorial Service on Friday, February 23rd at 10:30am*


Funeral Home:
Bradley, Brough & Dangler Funeral Home
Visitation Hours:
Bradley, Brough Dangler Funeral Home, 299 Morris Ave., Summit, NJ on Thursday, February 22, 2024 from 3:30pm to 7:30pm.
St. Patrick Church, 85 Washington Ave., Chatham, NJ on Friday, February 23, 2024 at 10:30am
Memorial Gifts:
Donations in Ethel’s memory to the Summit Volunteer First Aid Squad, PO Box 234, Summit NJ 07902, would be appreciated. Its members’ skills and compassion have been invaluable to the family in recent years, and we thank them for their service to the entire community.
Bradley Funeral Homes
Start your preplanning journey with us today, to provide comfort and certainty for the future.
Call Now Button