Battalion Chief John T. Ruddy, age 49, of the Jersey City Fire Department died on December 8, 2021, after suffering a heart attack following multiple emergency responses.
Timothy J. Kearney was born and raised in Jersey City. In November of 1972, he was appointed to the Jersey City Fire Department, where he joined his three older brothers. In 1988, Tim was presented with the Valor Award from the New Jersey State Firefighters Association, as well as the Fire Officer of the Year Award. As a firefighter for nearly four decades, Tim rose through the ranks of lieutenant, captain, battalion chief, and deputy chief. Tim loved his job and earned the respect of many of the men and women with whom he worked. He was also a contributor to Firehouse Magazine.
Tim and Gerry met when they were teenagers, fell in love, and married in 1972. Tim was the loving father of Timothy, Dennis, and John. A self-taught DIY’er, he left no room untouched in their first home, always trying to make their small house fit his big dream. Tim was a great dad and role model. He taught his sons life skills, in addition to coaching their Little League teams, leading their Boy Scout packs, and challenging them to a round of golf. He often worked two jobs to provide a comfortable life for them and to pay for their educations. Tim took pride in his sons’ accomplishments, and his proudest moments were seeing the fine men they became, much to his unheralded credit.
Tim took up the bagpipes and joined the Hudson County Pipes and Drums and, later, the Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh bands. He enjoyed marching in the many St. Patrick’s Day Parades held in New Jersey, but he also was excited to have marched in parades in Ireland, New York City, and Savannah. His saddest and worst times playing the bagpipes were for the many 9/11 memorials he attended.
Tim enjoyed vacations with his family, piling the kids into the station wagon for their road trips down the Jersey shore or the Carolinas, with his playlists mapped out for his journeys. He knew the words to every song and sang or whistled throughout the drive. Later, he and Gerry enjoyed their trips to Europe and his happy place, Costa Rica. He taught himself Spanish and loved practicing with the locals.
Tim was a loving grandfather to Lucy, Ellen, Wiley, Laura, and Mabel. He always conceded to one more story or one more toss in the pool. He’d throw a softball for hours, play on the floor constructing mini cities, and even let them polish his nails.
Tim leaves behind a vast hole that can only be filled with memories by those who loved him and with stories shared by the men and women of the Jersey City Fire Department.