Gemma Philcox

August 7, 1919 - November 22, 2018

Burial Date

Obituaries » Gemma Philcox

Gemma Philcox, 99, died on Nov. 22, 2018. She was born Aug. 7, 1919, in Queens, NY. The daughter of Umberto and Genoveffa Tonti, of Naples, Italy, she was one of six children, all of whom she outlived.She married her first husband, Francis X. Hayes, and attended Rutgers University. A gifted and driven woman, Gemma had several careers, as well as being a wife and mother to five children. She worked as a newspaper correspondent, editor, translator and shop-owner, as well as a riveter in World War II. She was perhaps best known locally as the town librarian and justice of the peace for Plainfield. Passionate about politics and protecting the weakest members of society, she was active in civil rights and a groundbreaker in the feminist movement. She was also passionate about amateur theater, working as an actor, director and playwright with her second husband, George Philcox Sr. She is survived by four children William, Lyn, Kathleen and George Jr. Another son, David, predeceased her. She is also survived by 10 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

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