Newark North Ward Center Announces the Death of Political Operative Steve Adubato Sr.

Newark North Ward Center released the following statement:

”It is with a heavy heart we announce the passing of Stephen N. Adubato: Founder of The North Ward Center and Robert Treat Academy, a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. He was fondly called “Big Steve” by hundreds of children, and the name stuck because in many ways he was larger than life.

Stephen N. Adubato founded The North Ward Center in 1970, a turning point in Newark's history. For half a century, The NWC has been a national model of what a community non-profit should look like. It has served as an anchor throughout Newark since we opened our doors.

Big Steve loved Newark and was proud to be a lifelong Newarker. He was a graduate of Barringer High School and Seton Hall University, where he also earned a master’s degree in political science. He attended Rutgers Law School and Seton Hall Law School but never became a lawyer. “In those days I thought I would either be a priest or a lawyer, but I met Fran and decided to forgo my vocation to the priesthood. Somehow I became a school teacher in Newark so I didn’t become a priest, I didn’t practice law, and in 1970 I decided I wanted to do my own thing.”

Stephen N. Adubato became one of the most powerful political power brokers in the history of New Jersey. He used his influence to build consequential institutions and programs that changed people’s lives. As one person wrote,“ Simply put, Stephen N. Adubato was the single most intelligent and powerful political force that New Jersey has ever witnessed.” Many of the major political leaders today got their start under the tutelage of “Big Steve”.

He often said, "If someone were to ask me what I am most proud of, it is leading The North Ward Center, there will never be another institution like this.” Our founder had much to be proud of. And has left a legacy of hope and opportunity for thousands of people.

He was an original. A character to some, a teacher to others... Long Live “Big Steve.”