CRANFORD — The body police pulled from the Rahway River on Friday was of a 52-year-old township resident and teacher at Cranford High School.

Joseph Dugandzic was identified as the man found dead about 9 a.m. in the shallow waters of the river near South and Centennial avenues.

Authorities have not yet said how Dugandzic ended up in the river. The investigation continued Saturday evening.

Dugandzic was a popular English teacher at the high school for many years.

His family released a statement Saturday through Union County's spokesman requesting privacy.

"Whether you were touched by Joe as a student at Cranford High School, on one of his many youth sports teams, at a charitable event, or as a friend, our community celebrates Joe's legacy," the family said.

"Everyone has graciously asked our family what they can do during this time. As Joe frequently said, 'the best thing we can do for our kids is give them the gift of our time.'"

He was mourned online by current and former students.


The Rahway River in this part of the Union County township runs between residences and businesses, including bars and restaurants and the municipal building. There are no railings along the walkways next to the body of water.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been updated to show Joseph Dugandzik's correct age.

Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email

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