Half-Staff Alert - May 1, 2020
For New Jersey Only


WHEREAS, Deborah “Debby” Bye Kean was born in Wilmington, Delaware in 1943 and graduated from Tower High School in Wilmington and Bennett College in Millbrook, New York; and

WHEREAS, Debby Kean married Thomas H. Kean Sr. in June 1967, months before he would begin his political career by being elected to the New Jersey General Assembly, and the two shared fifty-two years together until her passing; and

WHEREAS, Debby Kean was a staunch campaigner for her husband as he was elected Governor of New Jersey in 1981, and she served as New Jersey’s First Lady from 1982 to 1990; and

WHEREAS, Debby Kean was a fierce advocate for individuals in need, using her platform as First Lady to secure funding for and establish day care centers for State employees across the State, and her efforts resulted in the Deborah B. Kean Childcare Center in Trenton bearing her name; and

WHEREAS, Debby Kean also advocated for research on and the prevention of developmental disabilities, and served as the honorary chair of the governing commission to study developmental disabilities; and

WHEREAS, Debby Kean led the renovation of the Governor’s Mansion at Drumthwacket in Princeton, raising funds and executing a vision to turn Drumthwacket into a home that New Jersey remains proud of to this day; and

WHEREAS, Debby Kean will be remembered as a dignified and humble First Lady of New Jersey; and

WHEREAS, Debby Kean will also be remembered for her dedication to her family as a wife and proud mother of Reed Kean, Alexandra Kean Strong, and Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean, Jr., who has represented the 21st Legislative District in the New Jersey Senate since 2003; and

WHEREAS, Debby Kean’s presence will be greatly missed by her husband, children, grandchildren, many friends, and the people of the State of New Jersey; and

WHEREAS, it is with immense sadness that we mourn Debby Kean’s passing, and extend our deepest sympathy to her family and friends; and

WHEREAS, it is appropriate to celebrate the outstanding achievements and cherished memory of Debby Kean and to mark her passing;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, PHILIP D. MURPHY, Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:

1. The flag of the United States of America and the flag of New Jersey shall be flown at half-staff at all State departments, offices, agencies, and instrumentalities during appropriate hours on Friday, May 1, 2020, in recognition and mourning of Former First Lady Debby Kean.

2. This Order shall take effect immediately.

GIVEN, under my hand and seal this 30th day of April, Two Thousand and Twenty, and of the Independence of the United States, the Two Hundred and Forty-Fourth.

Philip D. Murphy

**When flown at half-staff or half-mast, the U.S. flag should be hoisted first to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the Half-Staff or Half-Mast position. The flag should again be raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day.

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