Rev. Frank K. Jago, long-serving N.J. priest

Posted: January 13, 2014

The Rev. Frank K. Jago, 76, was a long-serving Episcopal priest at only three parishes, all in New Jersey, during his 50-year ministry.

After being ordained in 1963, Father Jago was vicar and later rector at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Monmouth Junction until 1976.

He was rector at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Mount Holly from 1976 to 1997.

Father Jago retired in 1997, but, since 1999, he had been priest-in-charge at Trinity Episcopal Church in Delran.

The parish "did not have a full-time minister," daughter Vanessa Meredith said in a phone interview. So he tended to the religious responsibilities while lay persons handled the administration.

On Wednesday, Jan. 8, Father Jago died of lung cancer at his home in Lumberton.

"He could have chosen to look elsewhere," during his long ministry, his daughter said. But at each parish to which he was called, "he felt a real kinship with the parishioners."

Born in Camden, he graduated from Merchantville High School in 1956 and earned a bachelor's at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., in 1960.

He earned a master of divinity at the former Philadelphia Divinity School in 1963 and was ordained in November of that year.

In 1989, while serving his Mount Holly parish, he earned his doctorate of divinity at Drew University.

"It was a weekend program," his daughter said, so he juggled three responsibilities, to his family, to his parish, and to his studies.

Father Jago was a former president of the Mount Holly Rotary Club and of the Mount Holly Historical Society, where, she said, "the history of the church was a driving force for him."

Serving several community organizations over the years, "he jumped at every opportunity that came his way," she said.

A Mason, he was a former chaplain for the police departments in Mount Holly and South Brunswick.

A former chaplain for the New Jersey State Firemen's Association and the New Jersey Jaycees, he was also a former chaplain for Burlington County Emergency Services, the Burlington County Municipal Employees Association, and the fire departments in Mount Holly and Lumberton.

In November 2013, his daughter said, the Lumberton firefighters held a White Helmet Ceremony to honor him.

Besides his daughter Vanessa, Father Jago is survived by sons Frank K. Jr. and David, daughter Jennifer Kelly, two grandsons, and four granddaughters. His wife, Marjorie, died in 1981.

A visitation was set from 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 12, at Perinchief Chapels, 438 High St., Mount Holly. A Requiem Eucharist was set for 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 13, at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 121 High St., Mount Holly, with burial in the church graveyard.

Donations may be made to the St. Andrew's Memorial Fund at the church address.

Condolences may be offered to the family at www.perinchief.com.


wnaedele@phillynews.com

610-313-8134 @WNaedele

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