Joe Duda, longtime Republican ward leader and party official.

Joseph Duda reluctantly stepped down as City Commissioner to enjoy his retirement on the Jersey Shore.
Joseph Duda reluctantly stepped down as City Commissioner to enjoy his retirement on the Jersey Shore.
Posted: January 10, 2014

WHEN JOE DUDA lost the Republican seat on the three-person City Commission, which he had held for four terms, he took his disappointment to his beloved Brigantine, N.J., where he was soothed by the rolling surf and the cry of sea birds.

Joe Duda's loss in the 2011 election was attributed to infighting within the city's Republican organization that pitted Joe's faction, led by the party's general counsel, Michael P. Meehan, against a group of insurgents.

The insurgents' Al Schmidt defeated Joe Duda for the GOP seat on the City Commission, which runs the city's elections. The other two seats are held by Democrats.

Joseph J. Duda, longtime Republican leader of the 66th Ward in the Northeast, treasurer of the Republican City Committee and former committee executive director, died Wednesday. He was 74.

"He was a dedicated, hardworking man, very personable," said his son, Joseph Jr. "But he had a jolly side. He had fun with his grandchildren.

"He was disappointed by his loss, but he decided to enjoy his retirement."

"He was a great Republican ward leader," Meehan said. "He was one of my best political friends. If you were a friend of Joe Duda, you could do nothing wrong."

Born in Philadelphia, Joe worked for Philadelphia Gas Works and in sales before getting into politics. In 1964, he became a Republican committeeman and was elected ward leader in the early '70s. He later became a paid leader of the Republican City Committee.

He married the former Margaret McGrory in 1963.

Besides his wife and son, he is survived by a daughter, Laura Lorio, two brothers and three grandchildren.

Services: Funeral Mass 10 a.m. Tuesday at St. Anselm's Church, 12669 Dunks Ferry Road. Friends may call at 7 p.m. Monday at John F. Givnish Funeral Home, 10975 Academy Road. Burial will be at Resurrection Cemetery, Bensalem.

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