Road to Recovery [Livingston NJ]
March 31, 2021
By Robert M. Hoatson, President, Road to Recovery
[Photo above: Kevin Waldrip, left, and Bob Hoatson of Road to Recovery. Kevin died Monday, March 30. Said Hoatson: “There was never a protest too cold or warm or far away that Kevin did not volunteer for. He helped thousands of fellow victim/survivors get on the road to recovery.”]
Kevin Paul Waldrip, 70, of Matawan, New Jersey, died on March 30, 2021 in Old Bridge Raritan Bay Hospital, Old Bridge, New Jersey. Kevin was born on February 1, 1951 in Newark, New Jersey and lived for the first several years of his life in the Archbishop Thomas J. Walsh Homes in North Newark, a projects-styled housing complex.
His family then moved to the neighborhood surrounding Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish on Summer Avenue. Kevin attended Our Lady of Good Counsel Elementary School, graduating in 1965 along with his childhood friend of over 60 years, Stephen Novosedlik. Steve and Kevin were reunited after Steve read about Kevin’s harrowing story in the Newark Star Ledger of having been sexually abused and living in his car. Steve Novosedlik has been Kevin’s friend and supporter ever since.
Kevin was an altar server, boy scout, and involved parishioner for many years, even considering a vocation to the priesthood. When Kevin was 14 years of age at Good Counsel School, he was caught smoking on his birthday by Fr. Richard Galdon, a serial pedophile who served many years in prison for his sex crimes against children, including Kevin Waldrip. When Fr. Galdon brought Kevin to his office to discipline him for his smoking, he sexually abused Kevin that one time only. Kevin was never the same after that.
Kevin began freshman year at Essex Catholic High School in Newark but could not concentrate on his studies, making it necessary for him to find a new school. He briefly attended St. James High School in the Ironbound section of Newark, but left that school before long.
The rest of Kevin’s life was an attempt to survive the effects of trauma, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and years of anxiety and depression. A very intelligent man, Kevin could repair just about any machine, including cars, quote numerous facts and figures about a host of topics, cook gourmet meals, and assist neighbors and friends with jobs big and small. He worked as an optician’s assistant and a deli all-purpose employee. He was a true Renaissance man.
Because of his trauma, he spent many years living out of his car in a parking space in Montclair, New Jersey, donated by a friend, Alan Smith, who also assisted Kevin in many ways with car insurance and other expenses. In approximately 2007, Kevin contacted Mrs. Pat Serrano of Mendham, New Jersey, asking for the support of SNAP (the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests). She referred Kevin to Bob Hoatson of Road to Recovery, Inc. who also was a member of SNAP.
Bob and Kevin met at a Montclair park one cool, windy, Autumn day and Kevin told Bob his story for the first time. Bob and Road to Recovery, Inc. supported Kevin in his recovery, and he soon applied for and received help from the Federal and State governments. He moved into an apartment in Matawan, New Jersey and lived fairly stress-free for about a decade.
Kevin’s health began to decline about three to four years ago when he stopped volunteering to pass out leaflets at public demonstrations in support of his fellow victim/survivors. His COPD became severe and his breathing did not allow him to continue to walk the picket lines that he had so conscientiously walked for years. There was never a protest too cold or warm or far away that Kevin did not volunteer for. He helped thousands of fellow victim/survivors get on the road to recovery.
Kevin’s wish was for his friends to donate his body to science and then be cremated. A memorial service in his honor will be held at a later date. May he rest in peace.