Concilwoman Dies Before Town Meeting
Suffers heart attack in Teaneck

By Patricia Alex, Staff Writer

(From: The Bergen Record, January 6, 1995, C-1)

Elizabeth "Betty" O'Brien, Teaneck councilwoman and longtime municipal employee, died Thursday night after apparently suffering a heart attack in Township Hall, minutes before the Scheduled start of a public meeting.

She had undergone heart bypass surgery April 4.

O'Brien, who retired as township clerk at the end of 1993, was stricken in the office of Township Manager Gary Saage at 7:56 p.m. as she and others were preparing for an 8 p.m. meeting to discuss the municipal budget.

She said, "Something's happening to me," and then collapsed, said Councilman Paul Ostrow, who was in the office.

Ostrow, who is a member of the Ambulance Corps, and Lou Tiboldi, another corps member who was attending a zoning board meeting in the next room, attempted to revive O'Brien.

Police and ambulance response was swift, and oxygen was immediately administered, Ostrow said.

But O'Brien appeared to go into cardiac arrest before she was put on a stretcher so that she could be taken to nearby Holy Name Hospital, where she was pronounced dead a short time later.

O'Brien is survived by her husband, John, who formerly worked with the Bergen County Medical Examiner's Office. She also leaves six children and several grandchildren, Saage said.

O'Brien had worked in the Building Department and the clerk's office before becoming township clerk in 1970. She was remembered for her affable nature.

"She was a great lady and dedicated to the township of Teaneck," said Saage, who also was with her when She died.

"She was just a people person who operated very fairly and efficiently," Saage said. "She didn't play politics. She just did the job the way it was supposed to be done."

Ostrow said he had urged O'Brien to put her expertise to use in running for Township Council.

Despite being unable to campaign vigorously because of the heart surgery, she won a seat on the panel in May.

"She was doing a great job," said Ostrow. "She knew the town and she knew the players. That was Betty -- working until the end. We'll miss her."

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