“John has left for us a beautiful model of a life well lived.”
---Susan A. Cole
JOHN J. CALI ’09 HON The Montclair State University community lost a longtime friend and supporter when John J. Cali died on February 1, 2014. He was 95. Although he dreamed of making his living as a saxophone player, Cali became a visionary real estate developer instead. Yet, the Montclair resident nonetheless made an important and lasting contribution to the world of music. In 2008, he and his family gave $5 million to Montclair State, helping the University establish what became the John J. Cali School of Music.
Born in Colorado, Cali moved to New Jersey as a child. After graduating from Clifton High School, he continued his education at Indiana University, where he majored in sociology and psychology. He worked his way through college by playing saxophone and clarinet in jazz and swing bands, cultivating a lifelong passion for music. Cali began his real estate career developing single-family homes and founded Cali Associates in 1949 with his brother Angelo R. Cali and their business associate Edward Leshowitz (both of whom were members of Montclair State’s Class of 1936). The firm went public in 1994 as Cali Realty Corporation and after a merger in 1997, became the
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Mack-Cali Realty Corporation. Cali retired from the firm in 2003 as chairman emeritus. A noted civic leader, Cali served as president of the Office Developers Association of New Jersey and a board member of many other organizations and groups. Not only was he a generous supporter of the University, but also of the local library, the community hospital and other Montclair organizations. He received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 1996 and an honorary Doctor of Letters from Montclair State in 2009. He is survived by his wife Rose C. Cali, a Montclair State trustee
and alumna, his much loved children, Brant Cali, Jonna Cali, Michael Nevins, Joshua Nevins and Christopher Cali and his nine grandchildren who gave him his greatest joy: Shae, Olivia and Max Cali; Alex and Daniel Paleski; Jack, Christopher and Mikey Nevins; and Heebik John Cali. “The John J. Cali School of Music is a lasting and fitting legacy to this wonderful man,” says President Susan A. Cole. “His character, intelligence and kindness all will stand as great examples for our students to emulate. In addition to his love of music and education, John has left for us a beautiful model of a life well lived.” n