Philip Thigpen was elected in 2009 to serve as Essex County Register and lead the Essex County Office of Register of Deeds and Mortgages in Essex County. Mr. Thigpen also was Chairman of the Essex County Democratic Committee, a position he was first elected to in 2001 and to which he had been re-elected three times. Mr. Thigpen previously served as Essex County Freeholder and Councilman in East Orange. While serving as Director of the Essex County Department of Planning and Economic Development, he was responsible for the development and implementation of fiscal and administrative policy in issues such as economic and physical planning and solid waste disposal.
From 1980 to 1987, he was Vice President of Urban Data Systems, Inc. in Newark, a computer forms manufacturer. Prior to joining Urban Data Systems, Mr. Thigpen was Executive Vice President of Leon N. Weiner & Associates, Inc., a real estate development firm based in Wilmington, DE, where he ran a joint venture with Campbell Soup and RCA to develop low- and moderate-income multi-family properties in the East and Midwest. He was a member of the National Association of Homebuilders and was Chairman of its Affirmative Action Committee.
Mr. Thigpen served on numerous boards, commissions and committees. Most notable was serving as President of the Electoral College in the presidential election in 2012 and as a member in the 1996 presidential election. He was a member of the 2012 Congressional Redistricting Commission, the State Democratic Committee, the NJ Health Care Administration Board and was a former member of the Charter Study Commission, which recommended Essex County institute a County Executive-led government.
Mr. Thigpen received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Seton Hall University, earned a Master’s Degree from St. Louis University and was an Urban Fellow at Rutgers University. He had a stand out athletic career in high school and college. At Seton Hall Prep, Mr. Thigpen was a two-time national champion in the 880-yard run and, at Seton Hall University he was a national champion in the half-mile and a three-time national champion in the 1,000 yard run. In recognition of his athletic accomplishments, he was inducted into both the Seton Hall Prep and Seton Hall University Athletic Halls of Fame, where he also was Vice President of the University’s Alumni Association.
Mr. Thigpen is survived by his wife, Ernestine; three sons, Philip, Jr. and his wife Michelle Jean, David and his wife Veronica, and Richard and his wife Natalie; and four grandchildren, Amanda Joyner, Caroline Patricia, and Madeline and August Thigpen.