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Commissioner Kenneth R. Armwood, Jr.

Obituary for Commissioner Kenneth R. Armwood, Jr.

October 15, 1974 - March 29, 2021
Piscataway, New Jersey | Age 46

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Kenneth Armwood, or "Kenny" as many of his friends called him, was a man who put the world before himself. Whether you grew up with him in Newark, Irvington, or Piscataway, or had the privilege of walking beside him at a local parade, he knew your mother's name and asked about a recent event in your life. He remembered from the last conversation you had with him and he kept up with your victories online. He did this because he loved you and wanted you to succeed.

Kenny was born in Newark, NJ, on October 15,1974, and sadly passed away suddenly on Monday, March 29, 2021, at the young age of 46. His short time on earth had a huge impact on so many of us and has left a void in all of our lives. He had high standards for himself and his community. That is why when he experienced injustices in high school, he ran for a position on the Piscataway School Board and won at the age of 19. He knew you couldn't just talk about it, you had to be about it. He personified that as a young public official over his six years spent advocating for youth in Piscataway.

He is predeceased by his mother, Verdelle Armwood, who passed away in 2000. Kenny was only 26 when he lost his mother, and left public office for a few years after her passing. During that time, Kenny rededicated himself to following in his mother's footsteps of helping others. He began quietly mentoring young men and women in the community, making sure that everyone had access to the same opportunities, or more, than he did.

While working at the Red Cross for many years, he had a chance to visit and help kids around the world. He was chosen to help provide assistance for a service learning program at the University of Balamand in Lebanon. This was an experience that he felt very honored to be a part of.

His infectious smile and great political mind only gave him a four year reprieve, and Kenny was asked to run for a position on the Piscataway Municipal Council in 2004. He served on the Council until 2013, and was selected by his peers as the Council President in 2008 and 2013. He was soon tapped to fill a vacancy on the then named County Board of Chosen Freeholders. He was the second African American ever elected to the Board and, in 2020, was selected by his peers as the Deputy Director of the County Board. All the while, he never forgot where he came from and what was most important to him. He made sure to incorporate the former Superintendent of Piscataway Dr. Dan Rodriguez, a man he considered a father and who helped him throughout his career, part of his swearing in ceremony in 2019, and his cousin Valerie held his mother's Bible while he took the historic oath as the First African American Deputy Director of the County Board. He also was at the forefront to change the title "Freeholder" to "County Commissioner" to create a more inclusive environment and remove the negative connotations of the word "Freeholder".

While serving as an elected official on the county level, Kenny was able to bring people from all over New Jersey together to make the biggest impact locally. No one truly understands what the county government does, but if you had a few minutes to spare, Kenny would tell you why it was important to find out and why it was important to get involved. "Ya gotta do something," is a phrase you'd often hear in every speech. Whether it was a Get Out The Vote rally, a Black Lives Matter protest, or a long talk with one of his mentees from JobCorps, you immediately felt compelled to change the world. He had that effect on you.

Kenny's extended family of friends will be hosting a viewing from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Friday, April 2, and Saturday, April 3, at The Crabiel Home for Funerals, located at 170 N Main Street-at Riva Avenue, Milltown. A funeral to celebrate his life will be held on the field he called his solace, the Piscataway High School Football Stadium, located at 100 Behmer Road, Piscataway, on Monday, April 5, beginning at 11:00 a.m. A private burial will be held at Lake Nelson Memorial Park in Piscataway. Masks and all COVID-19 social distancing guidelines required at all events.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Kenneth Armwood Memorial Scholarship Fund and mailed to 2 Pucillo Lane, Somerset, NJ 08873. You may sign the online condolence "guestbook" at Funeral link

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to
  • Kenneth Armwood Memorial Scholarship Fund
    c/o 2 Pucillo Lane
    Somerset, NJ 08873

Arrangements By

The Crabiel Home for Funerals

170 North Main Street - at Riva Avenue
Milltown, NJ 08850
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