New Jersey Labor Leader, Jim Grogan, Dies at 83
James A. Grogan Jr. , Florham Park, NJ, October 16, 1938 – July 11, 2022
Jim (“Skip”) Grogan, 83, passed away peacefully in his sleep on July 11, 2022. Jim was born in Newark, NJ, raised his children in Belleville, NJ, had homes in Potomac, MD and Toms River, NJ and spent his later years alongside family in Florham Park, NJ.
Jim wore many hats: husband, father, Pop, Skip, V.P., G.P. and many more, but his favorite hat was his “hard hat” as Jim could be best described as a union man to his core. His amazing career began in 1956 with the Local 32 Insulators Union where he rose to business manager by 1973. By 1975, Jim became the President of the New Jersey Building Trades and held the position for fourteen years. In 1987, President Grogan became a VP in the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers trade union. Jim’s career reached its pinnacle when he became the General President of the aforementioned union and held the position until he retired in 2015, while also serving on the AFL-CIO Executive Council until 2016. General President Grogan’s accomplishments include but are not limited to: leading the insulator’s union through national crises (9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the Great Recession, etc.), the founding of the National Union Insulation Contractors Association (“NUICA”), the establishment of the Insulator Union Relief Fund, and the creation of the Insulators’ Tissue Bank. General President Grogan was not only dedicated to the lives of the men currently in the union but also to those who retired and needed aid. The Insulator Union Relief Fund was created after Hurricane Katrina to help brothers who endured natural disasters to get back on their feet, and the relief fund endures to this day. The Insulators’ Tissue Bank was founded to better understand and cure the diseases common amongst insulators due to asbestos exposure, eg. mesothelioma. General President Grogan believed in investing in the future of his union’s members, and he will be remembered for his enumerable efforts.
While Jim was a union man, much of his later years were spent as a family man. His union brothers knew him as Jim, but from 1991 onward, with the birth of his first grandson, his family knew him only as “Pop.” To them, Pop was a first-generation success story with a career for all of them to aspire towards. He was the smartest man that his grandchildren knew, a true role model. Whether playing trivia games in long rides home or quizzing them on U.S. Presidents, Pop wanted his grandchildren to be educated with a sense of history. While proud of their grandfather’s success, his grandchildren were often just happy to have him and their Nanny home because they were gone too often for too long due to his demanding work schedule. Weekdays at 7:00 PM were a staple in the Grogan household because it was time for Jeopardy with Pop; a half-hour a day that will truly be missed.
Jim was known by his friends, family, and colleagues for his fierce leadership, his “can’t take ‘no’ for an answer” attitude, and that big grin of his. His family, friends, and brothers will miss him dearly.
Jim is survived by his three children: Joe, Bob and wife Gina, BethAnn LaBella and husband Michael; eight grandchildren: Bobby, J.J., NikkiAnn, Mackenzie, Mitch, Marc, Carli, and Laina; one great-grandchild: Robert III; three brothers: Dennis and wife Maria-Elena, Joe and wife Kathy, Bob Britton and wife Barbara; loved ones: Dana and Frankie; as well as his caregiver, Irena. Jim was predeceased by his “child-bride” Betty and his eldest son Jimmy, as well as his parents Helen and James Sr., brothers Mike and Jack, and his sister Maureen.
Visitation at the Leonardis Memorial Home, Inc., 210 Ridgedale Avenue, Florham Park on Wednesday from 2-8pm. Funeral on Thursday assembling at the funeral home at 9:30am, followed by the funeral mass at Holy Family Church in Florham Park at 11:30am. Interment at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in East Hanover.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations be made in Jim’s honor to the Delbarton Wrestling Fund at https://www.delbarton.org/giving/giving-form, with the Designation “Other” for the “Wrestling Fund.”
We love you, Dad, Pop, Skip! We will miss you dearly.