Frank R. Filipek, mayor of Bellmawr borough since 2000, treated Regina Kaminski Piontkowski with the respect that he reserved for Catholic nuns.
"I used to call her Sister Regina," Filipek said.
Mrs. Piontkowski served on Bellmawr Council from 1994 to 2012, alongside Filipek beginning when he was on council.
"She would try to help anyone" through her work on council committees, the mayor said. Beyond that, "her main interest was her church and helping the young in Bellmawr."
"If anyone deserved to go right to heaven, I would say it's Regina."
Mrs. Piontkowski, 82, who moved to Gloucester Township after her term ended in Bellmawr, died of complications from Parkinson's disease Wednesday, March 18, at home.
Born in Camden, Mrs. Piontkowski graduated from the former St. Joseph's High School in Camden in 1951 and earned a bachelor's in biology at the former Alliance College, in Crawford County, Pa., in 1955.
In a story about the 1987 closing of Alliance, the New York Times reported that the college in Cambridge Springs was "so Polish that the evergreens lining the campus were imported from southern Poland."
It was founded and sponsored by the Polish National Alliance, a fraternal group in Chicago.
"Having come from a Polish section of Camden," and with Polish-immigrant grandparents, she felt that the college "had an attraction for her," said a daughter, Angela Veneziani.
Mrs. Piontkowski taught at the former St. Joseph's Elementary School in Camden for 17 years in the 1960s and 1970s, her daughter said.
She was fortunate that, just as one career was ending, a job opened in the office of the Camden County superintendent of elections, her daughter said.
She worked as a clerk there for more than 25 years, before retiring in 2007.
She was a member of the Lions Club in Bellmawr.
And as a member of Mary, Mother of the Church parish in Bellmawr, Mrs. Piontkowski was at times the choir director, director of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults classes, a distributor of Communion, and a Scripture reader.
She was also a volunteer at Holy Redeemer Hospice in Runnemede.
Besides her daughter Angela, Mrs. Piontkowski is survived by son Michael, daughters Susan Sparks and Theresa Prescott, two brothers, and seven grandchildren. Her husband, Andrew, died in 1998.
Visitations were set from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, March 23, and from 9:45 to 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, March 24, both at the Gardner Funeral Home, 126 Black Horse Pike, Runnemede.
There is to be an 11:30 a.m. Funeral Mass at the church of Mary, Mother of the Church, 20 Braisington Ave., Bellmawr with interment in St. Joseph's Cemetery, Chews Landing.
Donations may be sent to the St. Joseph Restoration Fund at www.stjoenj.net/form.html.
Condolences may be offered to the family at www.gardnerfuneralhome.com.