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Monsignor WIlliam J. Linder
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Obituary for Monsignor WIlliam J. Linder

Monsignor William J. Linder was born on June 5, 1936 to the late William and Madeleine Eibell Linder. He grew up in West New York, NJ and enjoyed a rich family life with his parents and sister, Ruth, whom he loved dearly. After graduating from Saint Peter’s Prep in 1954, Monsignor enrolled in Manhattan College to study engineering. However, halfway through freshman year his father suddenly died at the age of 53. Monsignor finished the semester at Manhattan College and then spent the next two years at Seton Hall University studying classical language/philosophy. In the fall of 1958, he entered the Immaculate Conception Seminary. Monsignor Linder was ordained to the holy priesthood on May 25, 1963. At the age of 27, he received his pastoral assignment to the all-black parish, Queen of Angels in Newark, NJ. Monsignor quickly developed what would become life-long relationships with many of the congregants. In the summer of 1967, civil unrest devastated much of the Central Ward of Newark where Queen of Angels was located. True to his compassionate nature, Monsignor Linder was not a passive observer. When the rioting began and bodies began to fall, Monsignor Linder picked them up and drove them to the hospital. While many were distraught and overwhelmed by the destruction and the sight of tanks on the streets, standing in a heap of ashes, Monsignor saw hope. Mindful that “Where there is no vision, the people perish,” Monsignor Linder set forth his vision of “a city within a city” to which he committed the rest of his life. In 1968, he and a small group of community-minded residents founded New Community Corporation. Beginning on just two acres of land, NCC would ultimately evolve into a community of people sharing and caring for one another on a 45-acre tract encompassing 14 city blocks in the heart of the former riot-torn Central Ward of Newark. To this day, a small greenhouse serves as the logo for New Community, which is one of the largest and most comprehensive community development agencies in the nation. In 1974, after a short pastorate at St. Joseph’s Parish, Monsignor Linder was reassigned to St. Rose of Lima Parish in the Roseville section of Newark and became the pastor there in 1977. He served faithfully for 38 years- baptizing, marrying and walking alongside his congregants as they journeyed through life. He was a comforting presence in times of trouble and a constant source of inspiration. Monsignor retired as pastor of St. Rose of Lima in 2012 at age 76. He continued to serve as the CEO of NCC until 2012 when he confidently passed the baton to Richard Rohrman and accepted the presidency of the NCC Board of Directors. He served in that capacity until his death. A social activist at heart, Monsignor Linder received numerous honors for his commitment to community development including: Person of the Week from ABC World News Tonight, MacArthur Foundation Fellows Award, Governor’s Gold Medal (NJ), Rudy Bruner Award for Excellence in the Urban Environment and the Entrepreneurial American Leaders Award, and the 2007 Project of the Year HOPE Award from National Association of Realtors. In addition, Monsignor lectured all over the world to community groups, bankers and others who were interested in the community development movement, including a two-week teaching engagement at the Catholic University of East Africa in Nairobi, Kenya. He also hosted about 25 visits from the non-government sector of foreign countries each year at New Community Corporation. Monsignor also served as adjunct professor at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University for seven years. In addition, the U.S. Department of Commerce during the Clinton administration employed NCC to develop the Non-Government Sector in Northern Ireland as part of the peace process in that country. Monsignor believed in the power of education to transform. He established the William J. Linder Scholarship which has enabled more than 100 students to attend area Catholic high schools. Monsignor routinely facilitated attendance at colleges for many students who were not financially able to attend. No matter who you were, Monsignor always encouraged you to strive for more. Two years ago, Monsignor found the time to write his memoir with Gilda Rogers. Over the course of his life, Monsignor Linder earned an AB in Sociology from Seton Hall University, an MA and Ph.D. in Sociology from Fordham University and honorary degrees from 10 institutions of higher education. Monsignor was a true renaissance man, a priest, professor, activist, jazz lover, author and a dedicated servant of God. Monsignor leaves to cherish his memory: One aunt, Rosemary Eibell; Nephews, Richard and James Rohrman; niece, Mariane Hitchner; his faithful friend, Madge Wilson, his committed nurse, Veronica Onwunaka, his dedicated Chief of Staff, Kathy Spivey, his beloved New Community Family and a host of friends too many to list here.

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Previous Events





3:00 PM - 7:00 PM
St. Rose of Lima Church

11 Gray St.
Newark, NJ 07103

Visual Service




7:00 PM
St. Rose of Lima Church

11 Gray St.
Newark, NJ 07103

Funeral Service




11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart

89 Ridge Street
Newark, NJ 07104

Cemetery Details


St. John Neumann Cemetery

3797 County Line Rd
Chalfont, PA 18914


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