(Obituary not yet available...this is a report of his death)
CRANFORD — Affectionately known as “Father Bob,” Rev. Robert J. Cormier is being remembered fondly by those who knew and loved him.
Cormier, a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark, died in a climbing accident on Mount Hood in Oregon on May 13, after reaching the summit. He was 57 years old.
“He was a remarkable man,” said his sister, Caroline Zamorski, who grew up in Cranford with her brother.
“Everything that he did, he did with whole conviction. He didn’t ever do anything halfway,” she said about her only sibling.
Zamorski described her brother as “totally dedicated to the people he served” and as someone who also loved the great outdoors.
Rev. Cormier ministered to church parishioners for more than two decades combined in Newark and Jersey City, and also served as a prison chaplain and a rehab counselor.
Besides mountain climbing, Cormier was a pilot who also enjoyed sailing, cave exploration, scuba diving and cross country skiing.
“Whenever there was a heavy snow, he would put on his skis and go skiing in the middle of Newark,” said Zamorski, who lives in Cranford with her family of four children.
“My brother lived his life with no regrets. If he had to go at age 57, this is the way he would have wanted to do it,” she said, referring to the climbing accident that led to his death. “My brother believed 100 percent that there was a better world for all of us when we die. He really truly believed that."
“He tried the best that he could to minister to his parishioners, and when they were down and felt really low, he told them to believe in God and everything was going to be okay. One way or another, it was going to be okay.”
A memorial service for Rev. Cormier will be announced once his body is recovered, Zamorski said.
“I’ve been in touch with the sheriff (in Oregon), and they’re doing the best that they can, but we can’t let them risk their lives to try to recover him,” she said. “The terrain with the snow, it’s just very dangerous. The day he died, they had 2 feet of fresh snow.”