If you knew Harry like Missy knew Harry, you’d feel compelled to tell his story to people who didn’t know the lifetime Rumsonite and retell it to those who did.
His story is the little, big story of a Harry Pomphrey, Missy’s husband, a man who grew up on Lafayette Street, who was known as a daredevil, a firefighter, a family lover and friend to many who passed away on July 3 at 53.
Yes, some time has passed, but Missy’s gratitude to the community and her husband have not. So, she wanted to say thank you and good bye with a little reminder of how home was where Harry’s heart was.
“Everyone has a Harry story,” she told R-FH Retro.
Harry was her hero. “I grew up in Rumson, too, but was 12 years younger,” Missy said. “I was so proud to be his wife. He was my everything.”
And he was an awful lot to the community that mourned him not too long ago and will always remember knowing Harry and others like him. The community-centered guy.
A firefighter (and lifetime member) with Oceanic Fire Company in Rumson for 34 years, Harry was “a true lifetime Rumsonite,” Missy said. “He was a daredevil kid, but would always help others. He always had a smile on his face.”
One of five Pomphrey children, Harry was the son of Potsy and Toni Pomphrey. The Pomphrey name is as old Rumson as it gets. Note the pond across from Rumson Borough Hall.
While Harry was known for his daring antics, like riding his bike down the slide at Rogers Park, climbing the flagpole in the 1980s to announce a school walk-out and enduring several motorcycle accidents with a smile and a limp, Harry also grew up to be that firefighter who answered most every call and the mechanic who everyone knew in both Rumson and Fair Haven.
Though his family moved south a few years ago, Harry is still known around the Rumson-Fair Haven towns as the father of six children and former mechanic at the former family business, Pomphrey Citgo (across from Crazee’s), Coulson’s in Rumson (by Butler’s), Fair Haven Exxon as well as Erectall Steel Corp.
His battle with a rare form of cancer was lost on July 3, but the Harry Pomphrey memories of the guy who “would go out of his way to help anyone” are not.
“I want to thank the town of Rumson for a wonderful send off that he would have been so proud of” and knowing Harry like she knew Harry, Missy said. “Thank you all!”
— Photos of Harry Pomphrey and his farewell ceremony, courtesy of Missy Pomphrey