Philip Karas: Harrison construction official and ‘Town Godfather’ dies from COVID-19

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Harrison’s construction official, affectionately referred to as the “Town Godfather” by friends and family, as well as the father of a local police lieutenant, Philip Karas died at 74 years old due to complications from COVID-19 this week.

Harrison Police Officer Corey Karas being sworn in as a lieutenant. His father, Philip Karas, is the third person from the right. Facebook photo.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Philip Karas was confirmed to have contracted the virus on March 27th and died on Thursday April 2nd, according to one of his four sons, Police Lt. Corey Karas.

“Cops from everywhere know him from Jersey City, Hoboken, Secaucus, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office and all of our friends have just been amazing. They call him the Town Godfather. This is the house people would come to if they needed a father, a grandfather, or a friend,” Lt. Karas said.

“Everybody’s just hurting at the station like they just lost their best friend and their grandfather.”

Philip Karas had been the town’s construction official since 2002 and had lived in the same Church Square house since 1952, his son said. He was also a Democratic committee member.

“We were like the house of Wayward Boys. My parents would take in all my friends going through tough times. All the cops still come here, would stop by hang out, eat, with my dad. He was friends with everybody,” Lt. Karas added.

While the family was offered a formal memorial by the town, they turned it down because they felt it’s not what Philip would’ve wanted.

Instead, he’s being cremated and his memory will be honored during a block party once this public health emergency subsides.

Tributes on social media indicated that Philip Karas’ passing was clearly being felt throughout town.

“I feel like we lost a member of our family. We are still shocked at the loss of Phil,” wrote Danielle Doyle.

“We had so many great times with him in my parent’s yard, your parent’s yard, Hudson Sound gigs or when Phil and Ted decided to sit on Chris’s motorcycle and they both burned their legs BADLY!! We will truly miss our Pheeeel, Raegan’s birthday buddy💙. Much love to you all xoxo”

Lt. Karas added that he also wanted to extend his condolences to Hoboken Police Dets. John and Fabien Quinones, who lost their mother to COVID-19 on Thursday.

“I feel so bad for those Hoboken guys: I feel their pain. If they need anything, they can always call here.”

Philip Karas is survived by his wife, Susan, his sons Corey, Sean, Joshua, and Mikey, his sister-in-law, Mora, and his three grandchildren: Ava, 7, Kayleigh, 5, and Eamon, 3.