Delaware Township, NJ—It is with profound sadness that the family of Bridget Catherine (Molnar) Waverka, 67, announces her passing, which occurred on the morning of Thursday, May 7, 2015, at home, with loving family at her bedside, after a six-year struggle with metastatic breast cancer. Placed in palliative care on day one of her diagnosis, she quickly came to accept her new circumstances. She never missed a scan, a round of chemotherapy, or whatever other difficult treatment her doctors could think of that might give her a few more years at life. Early on, she knew that the odds were that, with proper therapy, she could live for another five years, perhaps even seven. She made it past six. We won.
Although cancer dominated the final chapter of her life, it never defined her. She never thought of herself as a “cancer patient” or a “pink ribbon crusader.” Instead, she decided to focus on squeezing every last bit of joy out of life, no matter how sick the cancer, or the treatment, made her feel. With her beloved Gerald by her side, she continued to find joy in each and every day of life. Special thanks to Dr. Maura Dickler of Memorial Sloan Kettering, whose research into hormone-receptive cancers, especially HER2+, helped establish the groundwork for Bridget’s care. (May you, the reader, never have to know what HER2+ means!). For several years, Bridget and Gerald would make the weekly trip to Manhattan to see Dr. Dickler. As her treatment stabilized, Bridget was transferred to the care of Dr. Mila Gorsky, at Sloan Kettering’s Basking Ridge, NJ facility. She was grateful for Dr. Grosky’s straightforward and compassionate manner and the caring nature of the nurses and extended staff.
Born in Jersey City, NJ, Bridget Waverka was the daughter of the late Louis and Ann (Kelly) Molnar. To call her a dedicated daughter would be a gross understatement: she adored her family, warts and all. She is survived by three siblings, whose love for Bridget has brought them together in-person once again: Ann Schaefer of Phillipsburg, NJ, Louis Molnar of Edison, NJ, and Gregory Molnar of Denver, IA.
Bridget had a large extended family, and her childhood was marked by frequent family gatherings. Her aunts and uncles were extra sets of parents, and her cousins were consummate playmates and life-long confidants. In particular, cousin Monica Maybin stood side-by-side with sister Ann and sister-in-law Andrea Waverka and many other friends and relatives to offer love and compassion in Bridget’s final months.
Bridget was a graduate of Our Lady of Mount Virgin, Middlesex, NJ, Middlesex High School, Middlesex, NJ, and the Nancy Taylor Secretarial School, Middlesex, NJ. A life-long learner, Bridget was a degree-seeking student at Raritan Valley Community College for several years into her cancer treatment.
Over her lifetime, she was never afraid to try or fail at occupations that might better suit her lifestyle and evolving interests. She became everything from a secretary to a nurse’s assistant, a caretaker for the disabled to a real estate agent and an office manager. Her final occupation was as a long-time employee of Raritan Valley Community College; in addition to her work, she became life-long friends of many employees and students there. Also, from 1980 onward, she served as Farm Manager at Driftway Farm. The job title fails to do justice to the extent of her responsibilities at the family farm over the last 35 years.
Bridget is survived by her loving husband, Gerald J. Waverka, having just shared 45 years of marriage whose preserved boxes of 50-year-old love letters stand as testimony to their love. Theirs is the kind of life-long romance that fills the heads of young couples and sells novels, movies, and facial tissues. Through thick and thin, agreement and disagreement, they were there for each other, from their first blind date to her last breath.
Bridget is also survived by three living children: Jessica Waverka and her husband John Davison of Brooklyn, NY, John Waverka and his wife Sarah of Garwood, NJ and Karl Waverka of Delaware Township. She adored each of her children for their unique character and stood firm in the role of supportive mother and compassionate guide. She will truly be missed as a best friend of all of her children, a relationship that will never be replaced. Forever in her heart was her premature infant daughter, Jennifer Marie, who died shortly after birth, long before the age of life-saving medical technology.
She was fortunate to be present for the first year of life for three grandchildren, all of whom were born in 2014: Theodore Cecil Waverka-Davison, Petra Isadora Bridget Waverka-Davison, and Quinn Haden Waverka. Although their time together was short, it was meaningful, and we are forever grateful that she had the opportunity to be part of their infancy.
Her compassionate and caring nature touched the lives of many, and she will be sorely missed. A special thanks to her many nieces, nephews, cousins and dear friends who brought great comfort during her final days in at-home hospice, and to her Gerald, who never left her side and became her 24-hour nurse.
Visitation will take place at Countryside Funeral Home, 724 U.S. Route 202 North, Flemington, NJ 08822 (908-782-2121) on Tuesday, May 12 at 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m.
A funeral at Our Lady of Victories Church, 1005 Kingwood Road (a/k/a County Route 519), Baptistown, NJ at 11 a.m., followed by internment at Rosemont Cemetery (100 Kingwood Stockton Road, a/k/a County Route 519, Rosemont, NJ 08556), will occur on Wednesday, May 13.
All are welcomed to come join in the celebration of a beautiful life.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that tax-deductible donations be made to the Bridget Waverka Memorial Scholarship at Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC). Make checks payable to the RVCC Foundation at PO Box 3300, Somerville, NJ 08876-1265; or make a gift online http://www.raritanval.edu/foundationdonation. It is the family’s sincere hope that this scholarship fund will continue to inspire and motivate deserving individuals to help make the world a better and brighter place.
“Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.”
Forever in our hearts.