Get to Know Kate Grochala
July 25, 2020 8:00 am ET
FROM CARBONDALE, PA TO BASKING RIDGE, NJ
A lot of folks know Kate Grochala as an attorney and the former Chief of Staff for Assemblywoman Denise Coyle. But, not many know that she grew up as Kathleen Farrell in Carbondale, Pennsylvania. “To say we lived modestly would be an understatement,” says Kate. “What made our town great was the strong sense of family. People were interested in the community and were always looking out for each other and helping each other.” Kate recalls her childhood years with great fondness.
“My parents taught me the benefits of hard work. Both of my parents were an inspiration to me. When I was twelve, my mother decided to go to college and graduated magna cum laude, despite the fact that she could not even afford to park in the school parking lot or buy the books for her classes. She did her studying in the school library with their books. She later went on to pursue two master’s degrees. She taught at a community college for five years and then as a junior high teacher for twenty years. She is also a published author.”
“My father enlisted in the Air Force at eighteen during the Korean War. Afterwards, he worked as a machine operator, and later as a superintendent, for a coal company and later as a crane operator for the D&H Railroad. In all his years, he never missed a single day of work. Despite his demanding work schedule, my father took the time to be an active member of the community. He was a Commander of the local American Legion my entire childhood. ”
“My father, Tom, (92) and my mother, Ellen, (87) were both born in Carbondale and still live in the house where I grew up. I was born shortly after they married and was quickly followed by my sister, Maureen, and my brother, Tommy.”
Kate attended St. Rose High School where she was on the girls basketball team all four years. “We were a close-knit solid team and we won a division championship one year.” After high school, Kate went to the University of Scranton on a scholarship. Due to a decision to change her major from Social Work to Communications, she transferred to King’s College in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. There she was on the softball team, basketball team and the cross country team. Upon graduation, Kate went to paralegal school at the Institute for Paralegal Training in Philadelphia.
After completing paralegal school, Kate accepted a position at the law firm of Stark & Stark in Princeton, New Jersey. There she met summer associate and future husband, Rick Grochala. Kate was a stay-at-home mother to daughters Kelly and Molly. “We chose Bernards Township because, like Carbondale, there was a strong sense of community and family.”
At age 40, Kate decided to go to law school. After law school, she worked as an attorney for the Coughlin Duffy law firm in Morristown. “Something that has always inspired me and kept me going is the work ethic instilled in me by my parents, coupled with an incredibly supportive and loving upbringing. Rick and I wanted to give our daughters the same things that my parents gave to me. That is why we chose Bernards Township as the perfect place to raise our children.”