New Jersey’s Former First Lady Deborah Kean, wife of Thomas Kean Jr. Dies At Age 76

TRENTON, N.J. – Deborah Kean, first lady of New Jersey during her husband Thomas Kean’s term as governor from 1982 to 1990, has died at the age of 76.

“Debby Kean did not let the trappings of politics nor the pressure from the media change who she was,” said Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday. “Throughout governor Kean’s administration – and for all the years, frankly, before and since – she remained a quiet public presence but was a strong private presence as a wife, mother, and lifelong friend.”

Murphy praised the couple for remaining grounded during the Republican governor’s tenure. Kean was also the mother of New Jersey State Senator Thomas H. Kean, Jr. along with another son and a daughter.

“Even with all being governor entails, she remained focused on ensuring her husband did not forget that while he may have held our station, our state’s highest public office, his greatest responsibility was to his family,” said Murphy. “And that, in and of itself, is an extraordinary legacy.”

As first lady, Kean was noted for the renovation of the governor’s mansion at Drumthwacket.