John C. Giordano, Jr., known to many as “Jack,” of Southampton and Middletown, New Jersey, died at his Southampton home on September 11. He was 84.
The youngest of three children, Mr. Giordano was born in Long Branch, New Jersey, on March 17, 1930, to Ruth Hadenwald Giordano and John C. Giordano Sr. He attended the Lawrenceville School, graduating in 1948; Princeton University, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1952; and Rutgers University School of Law, graduating Phi Delta Phi in 1955. He was editor of the Rutgers Law Review from 1953 to 1955 and law secretary to New Jersey Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan Jr. from 1954 to 1955.
Upon completing his clerkship with Justice Brennan, Mr. Giordano formed the Giordano & Giordano law firm in Long Branch with his father, the Honorable John C. Giordano Sr., who served as a Superior Court judge in Monmouth and Ocean counties and retired from the bench to join his son’s new law practice. The law firm grew much larger over the years and ultimately became Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla of Middletown. Under Mr. Giordano’s leadership and vision, the firm became a multi-service law firm focusing on business, real estate, health care, environmental and securities and litigation. Today, the firm has a total of 116 lawyers and support staff.
During his career, Mr. Giordano represented major commercial and residential real estate developers throughout New Jersey. He was instrumental in the enactment of legislation to permit a new New Jersey Turnpike interchange and bridge to provide turnpike access to and from the Jersey Gardens Retail Center in Union County. He served as an advisor to clients on a variety of legal issues including the acquisition and subsequent management of the Boston Celtics, as well as the formation of the Hartford Whalers and related application to the National Hockey League.
As well as having an outstanding legal career, Mr. Giordano was instrumental in the success of several business ventures, survivors said. He was a promoter and a founding member of the First State Bank of Ocean County, subsequently the Middletown Banking Co. He was a principal in Countrywide Development Corporation and 2 JG Associates, in which he participated in the acquisition of developable land, obtaining approvals, construction of the projects and subsequent sales.
In 1963, he was one of three founding members of the Navesink Country Club in Middletown, and he oversaw the acquisition of the club’s site overlooking the Navesink River, as well as the development of the clubhouse, PGA golf course, hockey rink, tennis and paddle courts.
Early in his career, Mr. Giordano was active in the Monmouth County Democratic Party and ran for State Assembly. He was an advisor to New Jersey Governor Robert Meyner and an election campaign advisor and chief strategist to New Jersey Governor James Florio. He remained involved in the political process as a mentor to state senators and assemblymen.
Survivors said Mr. Giordano was an inspirational and charismatic leader for his law firm for more than 55 years. Due to his extraordinary legal acumen and counsel, they said, he was responsible for the ongoing prosperity of the firm and its clients. They said his work ethic and ability to develop professional and personal relationships was unsurpassed and that as result many clients became lifelong friends and confidants who never lost touch with him.
Mr. Giordano is survived by his wife, Andrea J. (Cerullo) Giordano; three sons—whose mother was the late Mary Kay Wertheim Giordano—and their spouses, John C. “JC” Giordano III (Errol Train Giordano), Mark V. Giordano (Sallie Dinkel Giordano), Paul G. Giordano; and stepson, V. Andrew Cerullo; five grandchildren, John “Jake” C. Giordano IV, Schuyler H. Giordano, Nicholas B. Giordano, Leta K. Giordano and Allegra L. Giordano. He is also survived by two sisters, Gloria Henneberry and Joy Conhagen, and their families.
Funeral arrangements were under the direction of the O’Connell Funeral Home in Southampton. Services are private.