Class of 1966
|Former New Jersey Supreme Court Justice
Honorable Ariel A. Rodríguez, age 70 of Ramsey, NJ passed away November 10, 2017. He
was surrounded by his wife, son, and step-daughter.
Ariel was born in Havana, Cuba on November 8, 1947, to Laurentino and Josefina (Chela)
Rodriguez. At age of 11, he emigrated to NYC with both parents and an older sister.
In 1966, he graduated from Berry Academy in Rome, Georgia. He then graduated from
Rutgers University in 1970 and Rutgers University School of Law in Camden in 1973.
In the beginning of his law career, he worked at the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office
from 1973 to 1976. Soon after, he went into private practice with close friend Alvaro
Iglesias. While building his practice, he taught legal courses part-time at Hudson County
On December 5, 1985, Ariel was appointed to the New Jersey Superior Court. He was later
assigned to the Appellate Division in 1993. In 2004, Ariel was appointed Presiding Judge
of the Appellate Division, Superior Court of New Jersey. He served in that position from
1993-2012. In October 2012, he was temporarily assigned to the New Jersey Supreme
Court until his retirement in September 2014. During Ariel’s professional life, he wrote 120
published opinions including 14 for the New Jersey Supreme Court.
Ariel was a member of Hudson County Bar Association and the Hispanic Bar Association.
He was also a member of the Cuban Cultural Center located in NYC.
Ariel lived in Ramsey, New Jersey with his devoted wife Karen M. Padreza and their beloved
yellow Labrador Retriever Sully. They first met in 2005 at a Tsunami Relief event. Ever
since that magical date, they have not left each other’s side. They loved gardening,
watching movies, dining out and traveling to Inns/Bed & Breakfasts on the East coast.
Ariel was a loving father to his son Gabriel Rodríguez. Gabriel graduated from the
Newhouse School of Media at Syracuse University with a Bachelor’s degree in Television,
Radio, and Film. Gabriel lives in NYC where he is pursuing a career in film production.
Ariel was a beloved step-father to his step-daughter Makeida Hewitt Estupiñan and her
husband Dany Estupiñan. Makeida is an assistant principal at Gregory Elementary School
in West Orange, NJ.
Ariel has a sister, Cassandra Rodríguez, who is a retired realtor. She resides in Coral
Gables, FL with her partner Antoinette Okon. Cassandra and Antoinette have a daughter,
Ariel has many cousins and relatives who live in Florida and Cuba.
Friends may visit with family on Thursday, November 16th and Friday, November 17th from
5-9 pm at Vander Plaat Funeral Home, 257 Godwin Avenue in Wyckoff. On Saturday,
November 18thvisitation is at 10:00 am with a service at 11:00 am. Private cremation to
|Courtesy of Vander Platt Funeral Home