"He was an exceptional educator and a wonderful man," said Silvia Abbato, a friend of Cantor and the principal of Hudson School. "He had a keen sense of humor."
Cantor worked for the Board of Education for 30 years. He taught at Washington and Jefferson elementary schools in Union City before becoming vice principal of the Hudson School.
Cantor also served as the coordinator for the city's Municipal Alliance and was a member of the Zoning Board. He is survived by his brother, William Wenish, and his niece, Jennifer Wenish.
Comments in the hallways
"I remember Mr. Cantor sang a song about me when I was late," read one student's comment on a bulletin board in the hallway of the school.
Many of the students at Hudson School wrote memories of their vice principal on bulletin boards around the school.
"He tried to know all of the [children's] names and always greeted them with a smile," said Rita Syvarth, a second grade teacher at Hudson School and friend to Cantor. "There will be a big void. We will miss him." Students remembered little things like when Cantor smiled at them or made them laugh.
"I remember when Mr. Cantor came to class with moccasins on," read one student's comment.
"I remember when I was at the drinking fountain and he smiled at me," read another student's comment.
According to Abbato and Syvarth, Cantor was known for his keen sense of humor and happy demeanor.
"He always tried to find the good in children and adults," said Syvarth.
Abbato said that many of his former students came to his funeral in Union City last week.
"His students always came first," said Abbato, who gave the eulogy at St. Rocco's Church.
Abbato and Cantor first met while working in the gifted and talented program together in the 1980s at Jefferson School, where Cantor taught fifth grade.
"I was overwhelmed by the number of former students that came to his funeral," said Abbato. "He made a difference in their lives. He made a difference in my life."
One last gift
However, Cantor was not only interested in taking care of his students. Syvarth said that Cantor always tried to learn about the other teachers and staff members at the school.
Syvarth remembers joking with Cantor about needing a new chair for her classroom, saying that everybody was getting new equipment.
Just last week, on March 12, Syvarth received her new chair.
"I didn't even know he had ordered me one," Syvarth said.