First Responders 07

James J. McTernan, Jr.

August 31, 1965 ~ March 31, 2020 (age 54)


James (Jimmy) McTernan passed away in his home in Keyport, NJ on March 31st, 2020 at 54 years of age with his beloved wife, Pattiejean McTernan, by his side. Jimmy was a man of many skills and a high work ethic, starting to work at a young age.  No matter what the task was, Jimmy always went above and beyond and strived for the best, despite how much effort, hard work, and diligence it took on his part.  He started working at General Dynamics when he was young, went on to work as a heavy equipment operator for an environmental cleanup company and then worked for ten years at the New Jersey Department of Transportation. Although these jobs were all important to him, he cherished the time he spent working as a volunteer for the Keyport Fire Department and contributing to the town he loved..  He joined the Hook and Ladder Fire Company No. 1 in 1989 and became Chief in 2010. He gained the respect of the community and his fellow firemen for his commitment and leadership. Some of his fondest memories involved the wonderful friends he made and the camaraderie between firefighters. Jimmy received a Life Saving Award in Princeton and an Award of Valor for an attempted rescue in Keyport. He authored a book with close friends titled Keyport Firefighting. The story was told through their own photographs and words. He was included as an author for the book Lost Keyport as well.

Jimmy was dubbed the Keyport Kid.  In addition to his commitment to the fire department, he was a respected historian of Keyport and could often be found in the neighborhood taking pictures, on his wrap-around porch, at a local restaurant, at Calabrese Barber Shop for great conversation, or participating in a community event. He was a Board Member of the Keyport Historical Society and was a founder of the Facebook page, Keyport, NJ which grew to serve over 7400 members.   He invested much of his time researching and preserving the history of his town and collected hundreds of postcards and everything he could about Keyport to share this history with the community. Jimmy was an original organizer of the Keyport Saint Patrick’s Day Parade and was a tour guide on the Keyport annual house tour. His home was on the Keyport Garden Walk and the Keyport Candlelight House tour.  

Jimmy put his heart and soul into everything he did.  He was the kind of guy who treated his hobbies like professions and was a born photographer and chef. Family, friends and neighbors were lucky enough to enjoy his comforting butternut squash soup or gourmet dishes. Although a talented chef, he would choose a delicious hot dog over a gourmet dish every time, including taking hot dog road trips with friends and flying to Chicago last summer to experience a Chicago Dog.  Jimmy’s favorite past times always included his family and friends, and after the Chicago trip, he was sure to fly in his favorite hot dogs for a Chicago Hot Dog party with his friends. Jimmy and his wife could often be seen sharing laughs on the porch or in their home with those they loved and cared for.  Jimmy loved antiquing, motorcycles, cars, music, everything Irish, gardening, and sharing any of his hobbies with those around him. He loved traveling and had one of his life time dreams come true when he and his wife went to Ireland. 

Jimmy was a caring husband, brother, son, friend and father.  Jimmy is survived by his wife, Pattiejean, his father James, his mother Terri and her husband Hank, his brothers Mark, David, Henry and their families, his son, Colin, his blended family including Chris,Tiffany, Dan, Courtney, Jack, Reilly, and grandchildren Ethan, Zach, and Carrie. He was predeceased by his stepdaughter Brittany.  Whatever name Jimmy is considered as, whether it be the Keyport Kid, Chief, or Jimmy Mac, he will always be remembered and loved by his family, his extended family, and friends.

Future arrangements will be made for a celebration of his life and shared with his family and friends.    In lieu of flowers or food being sent to the home, please wait until arrangements have been made for the celebration

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Family to do services at later date

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