Ava Jane (Jessen) Finnerty

September 22, 1948 ~ July 4, 2021 (age 72) 72 Years Old

Ava Finnerty Obituary

Ava Jane Finnerty, 72, passed away peacefully on July 4, 2021, surrounded by her loving family.

Ava was born and raised in Bayonne, NJ, and was a teacher for 44 years, 34 of those years at Bayonne High School. Before BHS, Ava taught in Jersey City at Sacred Heart and St. Paul’s Schools. 

Ava attended Henry Harris School and then graduated from John M. Bailey School in Bayonne. She attended St. Dominic Academy in Jersey City, where she graduated in 1966. Ava then attended Jersey City State College, now known as New Jersey City University, where she graduated with a degree in Elementary Education and English.

During her tenure at BHS, Ava was named “Who’s Who Among American High School Teachers'' numerous times. She was also actively involved in the Bayonne Teachers’ Association, serving as a union representative for numerous years.  After teaching for 44 years, her passion for education continued when she served on the first elected Board of Education in Bayonne.  She fought very hard for the students of the Bayonne School district and was known as a “champion for the children'' and a staunch advocate for the educators. 

Ava was the loving wife for 51 years of Joseph P. Finnerty; the dedicated mother of Kristen Scarpelli, and her husband, Anthony, Jill Rokosz, and her husband, Eddie, and Sean Patrick Finnerty, and his wife, Michelle. Her “source of joy” came from her five grandchildren, Aislinn, Aidan, Owen, Leon, and Gwendolyn. She was the best friend of Jeanne Kelly for 57 years.  She was also a loving step-grandmother to Madison and Brandon Rokosz.  Ava also leaves behind her brother, Christian Jessen, and his wife, Christine Robertell; and sisters-in-law, Beth and Camille Jessen. Ava was also the respected sister-in-law to William Finnerty (Rosemary), Kevin Finnerty (Kristan), James Finnerty (Carolyn), Dottie Finnerty (Ron Unterman),  Patricia Finnerty, Anne Finnerty (Bob Graham), and Bernadette Finnerty. She is also survived by many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, and grand-nephews. Ava was predeceased by her parents, Sonia and John Jessen; her beloved sister, Carole; her cherished brothers Charles, John, and Glen Jessen; her brother-in-law, Raymond Nethercott; her adored sister-in-law, Mary Finnerty; and her brother-in-law, Daniel Finnerty.

The funeral will be conducted by Bayonne Memorial Home, Inc. on Friday, July 9, 2021.  A funeral Mass will be held at Blessed Miriam Teresa Parish and St. Andrew the Apostle Church at 11:00 a.m. Private Cremation will follow.  Visitation will take place at the funeral home on Thursday from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  Donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. 

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July 8, 2021

3:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Bayonne Memorial Home, Inc.
854 Avenue C
Bayonne, NJ 07002

Mass of Christian Burial
July 9, 2021

11:00 AM
St. Andrew the Apostle Church
125 Broadway
Bayonne, NJ 07002

Private Cremation

Rosehill Crematory
792 East Edgar Road
Linden, NJ 07306


St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105
Tel: 1-800-805-5856


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