Roger Bruce McAteer, beloved husband, father, and grandfather passed away suddenly on December 5, 2022 at 71 years of age in New Providence, NJ.
He was predeceased in 2014 by Scott McAteer, the son he adored and treasured until his very last day.
Roger is survived by his loving and cherished wife Colleen (Giacomo) McAteer, daughters Lindsay Ingram and Cally Ingram Rundus, son-in-law Drew Rundus, and granddaughter Eden Rundus. He is also survived by his sister Eleanor (McAteer) Fesel and her husband Robert Fesel, and his many friends and extended family, including Ken Free, to whom Roger was a surrogate father.
Roger was born in Manhattan, NY on December 15, 1950 to the late Elsie (Hedberg) and William J. McAteer. Shortly thereafter, the family moved to Queens, NY, where he spent his youth.
He graduated from Newtown High School in Elmhurst, NY far taller than when he started as a freshman, which greatly improved his track and field capabilities. He received an associate degree from Staten Island College followed by a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Queens College in 1973.
Roger was a lifelong Christian. He was a dedicated member of First Presbyterian Church of Newtown in Queens. Roger started Sunday School at age 5, joined the Junior Choir at age 6, was confirmed as an Elder when he was 27, and sang in the choir for 40 years. Through his personal service at Newtown Presbyterian, Roger became involved as a trustee of Presbyterian Senior Services. Having the church as a distinctive part of his life from such an early age, and seeing the example of his father serving as both Deacon and Elder at Newtown Presbyterian, Roger naturally felt a call to support and serve his church community. Roger served faithfully from 1984-2009 as the President of the Board of PSS Alberta L. Alston House. He stepped into the position at the urging of his predecessor, Jim Watson, who he developed a special bond with while going out of his way to drive home from board meetings while Jim was battling illness. He was instrumental in raising the funds required to construct the PSS Alberta L. Alston House, which are apartments rented to elderly and disabled persons who are independently living on a very low income, and spoke at the groundbreaking in a moment of reflection in recognition of all of the volunteers and time it took to make that groundbreaking a reality.
Roger was also an incredibly successful and respected businessman, and a preternaturally gifted salesman. He was the owner of Wilson Industries, Inc., a manufacturer’s representative agency based in Warren, NJ that was started by his father in 1968. Roger began working there in 1972 and took over the business when his father retired in 1974. Roger had a much-deserved reputation for being the most knowledgeable representative in the industry for every line he took on as he spent the time to learn absolutely all he could about the products that he represented and the needs of every customer he visited – and he knew it all so very well. He greatly enjoyed the challenges and successes that the business provided throughout his career, but most important to him were the personal relationships that he developed with so many of the principles and customers he worked with over the past 50 years. There will never be a rep like him again.
He was given the gift of a once-in-a-lifetime love with his wife, Colleen, and people couldn’t help but recognize what a beautiful couple they made. Roger showered her with love and always made sure she was taken care of in ways big and small. They were a perfect pair, complementing each other in a way that left no question that they were made for each other. They also loved to travel together and spent as much time as they could visiting new places and returning to their favorite places, especially Bermuda, Italy, and London.
Second only to the incredible love he poured out on his family and friends was his love of golf. You could always count on finding Roger on the course at Watchung Valley Golf Club playing a round with his closest friend, Joe Marini, every chance he could, followed by cigars with his favorite doctor, Dan Roche, where they would all pontificate about the state of the world. He served a two-year term as President of the club’s Men’s Association, a role he relished and took on with pride. Golf was his first sports love, but he was also a diehard Yankees fan, an avid follower of football and basketball, and only rooted for the NJ Devils.
Roger loved cars. He participated as either the driver or the navigator in six Great American Races in his pale yellow 1933 Master Eagle Chevrolet, winning the “Never Say Die” award in 1990.
Roger found great enjoyment in cooking, but he never repeated a recipe, unless forced by his family in the name of holiday traditions, most notably his Thanksgiving stuffing, Christmas Glögg, and Pepparkakor cookies.
He was a connoisseur of wines, having honed his skills by completing two of Kevin Zraly's wine tasting courses at Windows on the World in New York City following a faux pas in his 20s when he brought a bottle of Manischewitz to a customer’s home for a dinner, a mistake he ensured would never be repeated. He was always ready to spoil his family by opening his finest bottles on special occasions and had recently been on a gin journey discovering the nuances of their herbal notes.
Roger was an expert in classical music and loved to play “name that composer” – a game he always won – and thought that most music made after the 1950s was just noise. His trivia knowledge was top notch, and he was not only an at-home Jeopardy! champion, he also appeared on the $25,000 Pyramid television game show, jokingly lamenting that his loss was because of “whoever that stupid actor was.”
He was a careful observer, full of the knowledge he obtained by sitting back and taking in a room before commanding that same room moments later with his wit, kindness, eloquence, excellent sense of humor, expertise and knowledge of a wide array of subjects, and had the ability to tell a story that was just as entertaining the second, third, and sometimes even fourth time you heard it.
He was a consummate gentleman, always stopping to let a lady enter every room ahead of him while holding the door. He would stop to change a flat tire for a complete stranger just because they were in need. Roger was by far the most sentimental man his family and friends ever knew, saving every card, gift, and letter he ever received, whether from a family member or a business correspondence. He has left behind a legacy of love, compassion, and generosity for all of us who were blessed to have him in our lives, whether for a lifetime, a decade, or a brief encounter. He will be so very dearly missed.
A memorial visitation celebrating the man who was so much larger than life will be held Sunday, December 18, 2022 from 12:00–3:00 p.m., followed by a 3:00 p.m. service at Valley Memorial Funeral Home located at 1012 Valley Rd., Gillette, NJ.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Spectrum For Living in River Vale, NJ, the long-time home of Roger’s beloved son, Scott. spectrumforliving.org/giving
Please visit valleymemorialfuneralhome.net for more information and online condolences.