All posts by Elaine Van Develde

A Sunny Sweep Back with Clean Ocean Action

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Clean Ocean Action fall Beach Sweeps/Photos by Elaine Van Develde

Our Retro Pic of the Day is meant to warm you up in more ways than one.

It’s a reminder of cozy waterfront warmth at Sea Bright beach in the midst of this wicked winter chill. And it’s a warm-up and precursor of sorts to our coming feature on Clean Ocean Action’s recent 30-year anniversary, as the featured photo is from the organization’s fall Beach Sweeps.

With the non-profit spearheaded by lifetime Rumsonite, Cindy Zipf, The sweeps have become a twice-annual environmental mainstay in the area for decades now.

Clean Ocean Action loves to let people know some of the oddest things found on the Jersey Shore beaches during sweeps. What’s the  strangest you’ve ever heard of?

Stay tuned for our story. Congrats to Clean Ocean Action and Cindy Zipf!


Prosecutor: Public’s Help Sought in Identifying Body


In circulating a composite sketch, investigators are seeking the public’s help in identifying a man whose body washed ashore at the Gateway Marina in Highlands on Dec. 30, 2013, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni announced in a press release.

A joint investigation by the Prosecutor’s Office and the New Jersey State Police has, as of yet, found no matches to the DNA profile of the man in the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), the release said. There have been no missing persons reports filed with police for anyone matching the description of the deceased man, either, it added.

The man, according to a forensic examination report, is a young white man in his 20s and not of American Indian, Japanese, Chinese or Guatemalan descent, the release said.

The composite sketch, rendered by the New Jersey State Police Forensic Artist Unit, depicts an image of what the young man may have looked like at the time of his death, the release said, noting that facial features, hair length and coloring may vary.

If any features of the man in the composite look familiar, or you believe you may have additional information concerning this case, call Detective Andrea Tozzi of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, at 1-800-533-7443, or New Jersey State Police Detective Steve Urbanski, at 609-882-2000 ext. 2554.

Going Retro with RFH Library Ladies

The ladies of the RFH library. Photo/screenshot of the RFH yearbook
The ladies of the RFH library.
Photo/screenshot of the RFH yearbook

We couldn’t possibly feature the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) teacher aides without also posting a Retro Pic of the Day featuring the library ladies.

Remember these women circa 1977 or so? That had it rough in that library. Yet, somehow they managed to keep enough noses in the books and paper airplanes and pranks at bay — sort of.

Remember their names?

Remembering R-FH Area People, Part II

The year 2014 was one of much loss — an unraveling of what people in the area had grown accustomed to as a tightly woven, familiarly comforting fabric of the community.

There was a lot of death — death of people whose faces and contributions Rumson-Fair Haven area people had grown accustomed to as part of their lives in one way or another.

We said it in the first part of our tribute and it bears repeating:

As the line in the Rogers and Hammerstein musical Carousel put it, “As long as one person on Earth remembers you, it’s not over.”

Well, it’s not over for them or us. These people, in one way or another, contributed to life in the area and were part of our lives.

We honor them with a photo and a token of remembrance.

Take the journey with us, one more time  …

Ian Carpenter, 44, RFH Class of 1988, soccer player, drummer, advocate for ALS/Lou Gehrig’s disease research, Feb. 22, 2014

Ian, an RFH grad who had relocated to Salt Lake City, Utah, died on Feb. 22, a victim of ALS.

Known as a craftsman and carpenter, Ian, who lived most of his life in Fair Haven,  built his own home and was known as a family man who loved coaching his son in soccer and baseball. He left behind a wife, Lindsay, son Winston and daughters Clara and Mary.

Ian, himself, was a varsity soccer player at RFH and a “talented drummer,” said his sister, Angela.

“So many of our high school friends came together for them in the end … it meant the world to him to have his hometown family help so much,” she said in an email.

Rest in peace, Ian Carpenter.

Jack Croft, 84, 64-year Fair Haven resident, 35-year Fair Haven Fire Department member, Sept. 7, 2014

This is a special one for this editor, in the interest of full disclosure.

Jack Croft has been sending me notes of appreciation for my writing dating back to roughly the year 2000 — probably earlier.

A family friend and neighbor, he always made a point of reading my stories and commenting privately via a personal, hand-written note and/or email.

As a journalist who is, as all of us are, accustomed to many queries critiques, and sometimes selfish pleas for one-sided agenda promotion, it was always such a pleasure to wake up to an email or note in the mail from Jack concerning any current issue about which I happened to be writing.

He always ended his notes reminding me that my parents would be proud. Now, that’s the kind of pay-it-forward, random contribution to the community that trumps a high-ticket social event any day. His effect in this and many other small gestures, was enduring and selfless.

A modest, true gentleman, who was often seen walking about town hand-in-hand with wife Jane, it was always not only heartwarming, but encouraging to read his opinion.

He did not gush. He was not ever after a special favor. He just felt it his duty to let a female journalist he knew as a child and neighbor that he appreciated her work. He was always constructive and supportive. And, yes, the gesture was so greatly appreciated.

It meant more than I can say, actually. We, in this thankless business, cover the news because we feel it’s our responsibility. And it is. Though, sometimes, people can be heavily imbalanced in opinion — merciless. He, thankfully, felt it was his responsibility to appreciate the work with a healthy balance. And that went both ways.

Thank you, Jack Croft, for the many moments you took out of your day to show gratitude and brighten this editor’s day. Now it’s our turn.

We so vividly remember you. You and your undying love for your wife, Jane, always affected not only this editor, but all who saw you about town.

Your sincerity, love of community and family will not be forgotten. Oh, and the notes have been saved. One is still on the fridge.

Rest in peace, Jack Croft.

Keith D. Smith, 41, of Rumson, manager of Val’s Tavern in Rumson, May 6, 2014

Kieth, a longtime Rumson resident, died on May 6.

Many had grown accustomed to his face at Val’s. He is missed.

Ida Twist, 90, longtime Fair Havenite and Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair volunteer, Jan. 1, 2014

All you had to do was spend any time at the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair and you’d recognize Ida.

For the past couple of decades she was at the Grab Bag Booth as what people have come to know as one of the “balloon ladies,” cheerfully getting those balloons to kids and putting smiles on their faces with some homestyle chatting.

If you didn’t see Ida at the fair, then you probably saw her at an event or parade — and she really loved parades — or with the Fair Haven Seniors group. She also helped her grandson, Charlie, start his lawn business.

She loved and was dedicated to community and family.

Rest in peace, Ida.

Mary Kirman, 79, longtime Fair Havenite, Feb. 15

Mary was a charming woman with a lot of community spirit who had a beautiful smile and a great sense of humor.

She looked like “That Girl,” Marlo Thomas, in her younger years — wide-eyed, sage grin with shiny black hair in a “flip” with bangs. And she had the bright disposition to go with the persona.

She was good friends with this editor’s mom and we spent much family time together. There was always a belly-ache of a laugh somewhere in there through the years.

In that time, her contagious laughter infected anyone whose path she crossed. Mom to sons John, Jim and Tom, and many grandchildren, she embodied sincerity and love of life and community. Her legacy is evident in her children.

Mary just had a way about her, as the Billy Joel song goes. She was always approachable, always smiling. Her laugh and smile are things that will always be remembered by those whose lives she touched.

Rest in peace, Mary Kirman.

Milton Edelman, 93, former Fair Havenite and Zoning Board member, April 27, 2014

Milton was known as an interesting, witty longtime Fair Havenite who relocated to League City, Texas, and passed away at 93 on April 27, 2014.

Born in Brooklyn, NY, Milton Edelman and family moved to Fair Haven in 1962. There, the family settled in and he served on the Zoning Board for quite a few years. He was known to offer many anecdotes and sage advice, according to an obituary written by his son Marc.

He was a lawyer with the firm Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman and Dicker, which was recognized by the National Law Journal as one of the top 50 firms nationwide. He retired from the firm in 1998.

After relocating to two homes in Vermont and Texas, Milton continued to serve on the local zoning board in Vermont.

Before he died, Milton worked with son Marc at an information technology services firm in Texas — PC and Cable.

He leaves behind his children, Eric, Marc and Alexandra, all RFH grads, and his wife, Frederica.

Rest in peace, Milton.

Dr. Peter Sheehan, 60, renowned diabetes doctor, son of Dr. George Sheehan, May 2014

A Rumson native, Peter Sheehan was one of 12 of Dr. George Sheehan’s children. Dr. George Sheehan, who is deceased, was and is still known as a well-recognized author and runner who raised his family in Rumson.

Peter did groundbreaking work in the study and treatment of diabetes in his lifetime.

Rest in peace, Dr. Peter Sheehan.

Nancy Dexter, 84, of Fair Haven, RFH teacher aide, Jan. 10

Oh, Mrs. Dexter. She was a beautiful woman, with a sharp edge, who died at 84 on Jan 10, 2014.

Mrs. Dexter, a mom of four, was a Catherine Gibbs Secretarial School graduate who married Howard Dexter in 1950.

After having served as a Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) aide for a stint in the 1970s, she retired from AT&T in 2000.

Mrs. Dexter was known to many an RFH student as a troubadour of monitoring many hallway hijinks and incidents of library lunacy spearheaded by many good, yet antsy and mischievous students.

Thanks for rolling with us and doling out those myriad reprimands and fun times at RFH, Mrs. Dexter.

Rest in peace.

Karen Harrington Bovenzi, 54, 1978 RFH grad, formerly of Rumson, June 26, 2014

Karen passed away at Newark Beth Israel Hospital after a heart transplant.

Comments flooded the RFH Reunion Facebook page upon Karen’s death. “It’s with great sadness that I tell you that Karen Harrington Bovenzi passed away this afternoon after a very long and courageous battle with a heart transplant and many side effects and issues,” said her good friend Rita Marass Kellegher.

Rest in peace, Karen.

Henry Leon “Sike” Reevey, 85, of Fair Haven, Oct. 20, 2014

Born in Fair Haven in 1929, Henry, known as Sike, was a staple in Fair Haven life.

The senior Reevey is one of many in town who contributed to the town’s homegrown culture.

There are many Reeveys out there to this day. Sike, himself, was born on Sept. 24, 1929, and was a U.S. Army vet of the Korean War, according to his obituary on

“As a member of the Fair Haven Reevey’s (stet), I would like to say Thank You for all the kind words extended to us in the passing of my Uncle Sike. Please keep us in your hearts and prayers especially Aunt Sonia and all his children. He loved all deeply and equally,” his relative said on the Fair Haven Facebook page.

He was, sadly, predeceased by his son Aaron, a 1978 RFH graduate, as well as his parents, Shockely and Margaret Ensley Reevey; and brothers and sisters, James, Dorothy, Stanley, Theodore, Rose Jackson, Lawrence and Frank Reevey.

He is survived by: his wife, Sonia; three children, Henry, Jr., of Freehold, Dwayne, Sr., of Fair Haven, and Stephanie Hurt, of Lawrenceville, GA; one sister, Shirley, of Tinton Falls; 11 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

Sike was known to emanate a true love of his hometown community and everyone in his family has been known to carry on his legacy of loyalty to and love of Fair Haven.

Rest in peace, Mr. Sike Reevey.

Arlene Albano, 62, former RFH Math teacher, Aug. 22, 2014

Arlene Albano, who died of breast cancer, was a well-liked Math teacher and advisor of the RFH Twirling Squad. She had many fans.

A graduate of Shore Regional High School and Montclair State College, she, after her teaching career at RFH, became a software developer of nuclear power plant simulation at Electronics Associates, Inc. (EAI), West Long Branch.

This editor had Arlene Albano for Math and found her to be a great teacher with a lot of patience and a pleasant personality.

Carol Nagle Skinner, an RFH twirler, said on the RFH Class of ’78 Facebook page:  “Some of her twirlers were able to see her last week to say goodbye. She fought cancer for way too long but never complained. I don’t know how she put up with us in high school! She is finally at Peace.”

Rest in peace, Miss Albano.

Madeline Robbins, 92, longtime Fair Haven resident, longtime member of the Fair Haven Fire Department’s Ladies’ Auxiliary, Oct. 6, 2014

Madeline Robbins was known as a fun-loving woman with a glowing smile and great heart for her community — Fair Haven.

She served on the Fair Haven Election Board and as Fair Haven’s assistant borough clerk.

As daughter Kathy recalls, she “was always ironing the alter linens for Church of the Nativity.”

This editor remembers Madeline as a family friend with whom Fair Haven families went camping.

She, her husband Al, kids and other families made an annual trek to Pennsylvania Dutch country to camp for many an outing on Memorial Day in the 1970s.

She was always laughing, singing a verse or two of “This Land is Your Land” and joking around the campfire.

Anyone would recognize that bright smile anywhere. Thanks for all the fun, sincere and spirited memories.

Rest in peace, Madeline.

Joseph Lincoln Davidson III, 63, ex-chief of Rumson Fire Department, February of 2014

Born in Reading, PA, Joseph was a lifetime member and ex-chief of the Rumson Fire Department and past president and member of Rumson First Aid.

An avid boater, he was a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary and loved fishing.

He leaves behind his wife, Regina, of 42 years, sons Christopher and Steven, and daughter Jennifer and grandchildren.

Thank you for your service. Rest in peace, Joseph.

Marylyn J. Scott, former Fair Haven teacher, July 20, 2014

Marylyn Scott was an elementary school teacher in Fair Haven for decades, from the early 1960s to 1990, when she retired.

Many remember Marylyn for her kind nature and conscientiousness as an educator.

Her obituary, spearheaded by family, asked that she be remembered as not only a teacher, but a mother, friend and neighbor. She was all of those things.

Thank you for your dedication to the children of Fair Haven.

Rest in peace, Marylyn.

John Edward Kondrup, 93, longtime Rumson resident, former borough mechanic, U.S. Army World War II vet, driver for Rumson First Aid, member of Oceanic Hook & Ladder Co. #1, Sept. 18, 2014

Kondrup was known to always have a smile on his face and a great deal of pride in his vegetable garden.

Many have said that he was known to also ride his bicycle around town for many years, until he reached his 90s.

Rest in peace, John.

Photos/courtesy of families and Thompson Memorial and Days funeral homes.

A Retro Look at RFH School Days

Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School teacher aides of the 1970s. Photo/screenshot of RFH yearbook
Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School teacher aides of the 1970s.
Photo/screenshot of RFH yearbook

Aides. They are the unofficial mentors of our school days.

In this photo are some special ladies who had the sometimes daunting task in the late 1970s of trying to assist, with patience, some annoyingly energetic, mischievous Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) students.

They were the RFH aides. In the center of the photo is Nancy Dexter, who passed away last year.

Those pictured around Mrs. Dexter, many of whom have passed, are: Mrs. Williams, Mrs. Cupples, Mrs. DiNicola, Mrs. Parker, Mrs. Blake, Mrs. Waldron.

Remember Mrs. Parker singing over the loud speaker around Christmas time? Did you ever hijack the mic from Mrs. Cupples to announce your party? And, I’m pretty sure one of these ladies, very kindly, told me to go play in traffic when I got busted sending messages via paper airplane (that never landed where it was supposed to) to my friends in English lab.

Crime Close By: Home Invasion Robbery, Theft, Criminal Mischief

The following incident reports were obtained directly from recent police records in the neighboring borough of Red Bank:

• A theft on Bridge Avenue was reported on Dec. 18. The victim reported that he left his bags, containing a new Android phone, a gold bracelet and medication, on the sidewalk outside of a store, and when he returned, a minute later, they were gone.

PatrolmanTanner Shea took the report.

• An incident of criminal mischief at a Basset Place residence was reported to have occurred on Dec. 23. The victim reported that someone damaged her driveway and front steps by throwing orange paint on them.

Patrolman Kristin Altimari took the report.

• A theft was reported to have occurred on Dec. 28 at a West Front Street restaurant/bar. The victim reported that her purse, containing credit cards and an iPhone, was stolen from the back of a chair.

Sgt. Joey Fields took the report.

• A Dec. 29 incident of criminal mischief at Montgomery Terrace was reported. The victim reported that someone smashed the passenger side of a parked vehicle.

Patrolman Patrick Kennedy took the report.

• The alleged Dec. 15 theft of diamond earrings from a locker at a Maple Avenue day spa was reported on Jan. 3.  Inv. Jorge Torres.

• A theft was reported to have occurred on Jan. 3 at a Catherine Street residence. The victim reported that a shopping cart was stolen from the hallway of a residence.

• A home invasion robbery was reported to have occurred at a Pearl Street multi-residence at 7:43 p.m. on Jan. 3.

The victim reported that two unknown black males, wearing ski masks and holding semi-automatic handguns, broke into his bedroom, assaulted him and demanded money. The victim reported that he did not have any cash and the alleged robbers fled.

Patrolman Cevin Albert took the report.

• The theft of a jacket from a West Front Street restaurant/bar was reported to have occurred on Jan. 4.

• An incident of criminal mischief on East Westside Avenue was reported to have occurred on Jan. 6 and 7.  The victim reported that car tires were slashed and the windshield was cracked.

Patrolman Shane Dengel took the report.

Fair Haven Set to Spruce Up Waterfront Spots

By Elaine Van Develde

It wasn’t long after Fair Haven acquired the long-sought-after Robards/Williams waterfront estate for passive recreation that the borough got another grant to keep upgrade more pocket spots along the Navesink River.

The 2014 Monmouth County Open Space Grant of up to $250,000 in matching funds was awarded only a few weeks ago.

What it’s been designated to do is to “polish the diamond” that is the Fair Haven open space on the waterfront, Mayor Ben Lucarelli said.

“Now that we’ve acquired DeNormandie, cleaning up and maintaining the rest of the open waterfront spaces we have is the next logical step. If we don’t do it now, we’ll have real headaches down the road.”

The “polishing” the mayor referred to is, more specifically, “resloping  of two riverbank pocket parks at the end of Hance Road and Grange Avenue, so that people can access them easier and enjoy them more” and the refurbishment of bulkheads and passive recreation enhancements, such as benches.

Similar work, without resloping, is planned for the swath of land known as the home of the River Rats at the foot of Battin Road.

“It will make all those areas more user friendly,” he added. “The focus on these areas, I think, is a good use of this grant money. People I’ve spoken with who live on the west side of town have felt as if they haven’t gotten the total benefit of these projects. Now they’ll have it and the feedback I’ve gotten is that they’re very happy about that.”

The process for implementation of the county open space grant will soon begin.

Lucarelli said that the design drawings will first be completed. Then the project will be put out to bid; and “we’ll see where the cost comes in.”

Up to $250,000 will or can be funded by the matching grant money. In other words, if the cost of the project comes in at $300,000, then the county will pay $150,000 and the borough will pay the other half, and so on.

Sometimes bonding is necessary, or as a show of good faith to the funding entity, to fund such a matching grant project and set it in motion and pay contractors while waiting for the funded portion of the money to come in. In those instances, with such grants, the town bonds for the entire projected cost of the project and is then reimbursed by the county, or whichever agency is allocating the funding.

However, the mayor doesn’t think this project will require bonding. More likely, he said, “we’ll just bid and, if there’s enough (allocated) in the (capital improvements section of the) budget, pay as we go.”

All 53 municipalities in the county are eligible for the annual open space grant, which is designed to encourage open space acquisition and preservation as well as park enhancements and facilities by offsetting costs of such purchases.


Looking Back at a Snowy Sea Bright

In light of the cold snap and dusting of snow this week, our Retro Pic (or Pics today) of the Day gives a glance back at some warm sunset hues over a stark, cold, snow-peppered Sea Bright beach a couple of years ago.

Some of the photos, never before seen, also depict a post-Hurricane Sandy Donovan’s Reef.

Stay warm, friends and fans!

RFH Students Help to Empower Women Globally Via Fundraising

The following is an edited press release from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School: 

The recent fundraising efforts of Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School’s (RFH) Global Women Empowerment organization will facilitate the education of two girls in Uganda and empower others around the world in different ways.

The more than $2,000 raised will be funneled to Change A Life Uganda’s Tuition for Tots-to-Teens to help the girls, Daisy and Patricia, finish high school and Global Women Empowerment, a student organization at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School, recently completed a highly successful fundraiser in support of Change A Life Uganda’s Tuition for Tots-to-Teens.

Continue reading RFH Students Help to Empower Women Globally Via Fundraising

Remembering Some R-FH Area People

By Elaine Van Develde

It seemed to happen an awful lot in 2014  — the death of people whose faces and lives we’ve grown accustomed to being woven into the fabric of Rumson-Fair Haven area life.

There were times it seemed that the fine people manning the Fair Haven Firehouse marquee couldn’t even keep up. It’s the place in the area where the news of loss is often spread.

In 2014 it seemed that there were all too frequent tiny gasps and self-mutterings of “Oh, no!” as a ride by the firehouse revealed yet another passing. It all seemed to echo as yet another familiar face flashed and a memory was evoked.

We said it in the memorial tribute to Mimi Hughes. We, at Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect,  are dedicated to remembering those who have passed.

Why? Because, as the line in the Rogers and Hammerstein musical Carousel put it, “As long as one person on Earth remembers you, it’s not over.”

Well, it’s not over for them or us. These people, in one way or another, contributed to life in the area and were part of our lives.

We honor them with a photo and a token of remembrance.

Take the journey with us …

George Giffin, 85, longtime RFH science teacher and dance instructor extraordinaire, May 15

This true area icon could get Attila the Hun to crack a smile.

The man, known for his true appreciation of dance, would pretty much break into a routine wherever he was.

This editor ran into him a couple of times in the recent past — at the Fair Haven centennial and Fairwinds Deli in Fair Haven.

He never forgot a face, either. He knew who I was from 30-something years past in high school when he taught me ballroom dance and I was abysmal.

I asked him then what advice he had for the many teens he taught to dance. He told me he still made appearances at RFH grads’ and their kids’ weddings to get them through the festivities with his special blend of dance instruction.

His motto, he said at the time: “When you get that beat, you gotta move your feet.”

Keep dancing, Mr. Giffin, and rest in peace when and if you take a break.

Pat Topfer, 77, Fair Haven, Oct. 26

Pat, also known in the past as Mrs. Cook, was a 52-year resident of Fair Haven and an 50-year Fair Haven Fire Department Ladies’ Auxiliary member.

She always had a great smile and zest for life. Her daughters, all RFH grads, inherited her beautiful face and smile.

She shared many a crumb cake and cup of coffee with this editor’s mom. Many years past my teens, she saw me at Marine Park in Red Bank. I was pregnant with my son. She gushed with joy and support and insisted upon snapping a picture of my friend and me. She made sure she got it to me. I still have it — that any many good memories of her friendly demeanor and smile.

Last I saw Pat, she was at the Fair Haven centennial celebration, gussied up in festive red, white and blue sparkles for the occasion.

She was more than happy to pose for my photo of her as a longtime, proud Fair Havenite.

Rest in Peace, Pat.

Lois Brett, formerly of Fair Haven, longtime teacher, Oct. 29

Lois Brett was a teacher in the Fair Haven School District for many years.

The daughter of Lester and Esther England, she graduated from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School. “She refused to limit her teaching to the classroom, but rather passed on her knowledge, wisdom, and joy of life, learning, love, and knitting to all those she knew however briefly,” according to her obituary.

Mrs. Brett was a friend of my mom’s. She was known for her kind nature and knack for making those Christmas cookies. There was nary a Christmas in our house without some of Lois Brett’s cookies.

Rest in peace, Lois Brett.

Mary Welling Hunnewell, 54, RFH graduate, Class of 1978, Oct. 17

Mary was a gymnast, equestrian, skier,  and just all-around  nice girl.

She grew up in Fair Haven and graduated from RFH. She had a soft voice, tiny stature and gentle demeanor.

As high school friend Devon Martin put it, “We shared many great times between Gillespie and DeNormandie…on my dad’s little sunfish…having to be rescued! Through middle school and high school. Gymnastics. She was a sweet, kind, generous and beautiful person. I am glad to have been her friend. She will truly be missed on this earth.”

Rest in peace, Mary.

Nina DeSesa, 88, formerly of Fair Haven, Nov. 23

Nina and her husband Michael raised their family, children Blaise and Stephanie, in Fair Haven.

Both were Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School graduates. Stephanie died unexpectedly in 2011 at 50. In the interest of full disclosure, she was this editor’s best friend.

Nina, known lovingly as “the bull” to friends, was a force to be reckoned with when it came to her family and convictions. She was also pretty darn funny and astute.

She loved the opera, her husband and children more than anything in life.

Many saw Nina as quite a stern character, nonetheless fabulous cook, with a mission to play Bridge and MaJong. But, she was much more than that.

She had a great heart. This is my chance to say thank you to a woman who, though many times criticized me mercilessly, was always there for her daughter and me — front and center at both my parents’ funerals.

I have a few things to say to Nina:

Thank you for that artichoke pie, the best baby shower ever, the beautiful blanket you knitted for Cole, all the fabulous dinners and trips into the city to cool out-of-the-way restaurants, the scoldings, that Gilbert O’Sullivan sweater you knitted for Steph (that we fought over).

And, most of all, thank you, Nina, for moving to Fair Haven in 1967 and bringing Steph into my life. I hope you are together again. Oh, and … Step away from the stuffed stork!

Rest in peace, Nina DeSesa.

Silvio Fabbri, 59, owner of Fair Haven’s Umberto’s and friend to many, Nov. 26

This icon, known for his incredible memory and own brand of love for each and every one of his customers, could be seen tossing pizza dough, chatting with the kids, chiding them with a wink, and telling people to “hanga loose.”

Fabbri died very suddenly; and his death saddened a community very accustomed to hearing his anecdotes and knowing that he knew who they were, what was going on in their lives and what they liked to eat.

It could be months that Silvio didn’t see you, yet he’d remember everything about you when you walked in the door.

I got yelled at for not coming around enough, but he remembered my favorite special sub.

Rest in peace, Silvio, and “hanga loose.”

Fair Haven Councilman Jerome Koch, 63, Nov. 30

Jerome Koch died as the result of a tragic Nov. 29 bicycle accident on River Road in Fair Haven.

Koch was known for his sardonic wit and keen sense of humor while sitting on the dais of the Fair Haven Borough Council for nine years.

On Nov. 29, the councilman took what was described by Mayor Ben Lucarelli as his characteristic bike ride around town. The mayor, an avid cyclist, was out for a ride that day as well. He said that when he had passed Koch, he was doing his customary scouting for errant garbage and tidying up.

Not much longer after that, the councilman was hit by a car not too far from his home on River Road and flown to Jersey Shore Medical Center Trauma Unit. He remained in the hospital’s intensive care unit and, sadly, died the next day.

Rest in peace, Councilman Koch.

Mimi Hughes, 83,  Rumson resident and 26-year RFH English teacher

Mimi Hughes, who taught English at RFH for 26 years and acted and sang in many a production in the area, died on Dec. 20 surrounded by her loving family.

This is a tough one for this editor. Mrs. Hughes and her family were like family.

Take a look at our tribute to Mrs. Hughes by clicking here.

John Kondrup, 93, 67-year Rumson resident, Rumson First Aid, Oceanic Fire Company and borough mechanic, Sept. 18

A World War II U.S. Army vet, Kondrup made Rumson his home  for 67 years.

In addition to all of his volunteer service to Rumson, he was known for his bright smile, bike riding around town, and his prideful vegetable gardening.

Rest in peace, John.

Craig Bahrs, 45, deputy police chief in Middletown, K-9 officer, Dec. 1

Craig Bahrs did not live in Rumson or Fair Haven. He, however, was well known and respected in his role as a policeman and K-9 officer in Middletown.

He had a sincere smile and gentle demeanor.

Click here for our tribute to him. 

Rest in peace, Craig.

If there’s anyone we have somehow forgotten, please feel free to send us a message and photo at






Sea Bright in Sandy’s Wake

Hurricane Sandy damage in Sea Bright. Photo/Elaine Van Develde
Hurricane Sandy damage in Sea Bright.
Photo/Elaine Van Develde

Our Retro Pic of the Day features a glimpse of what downtown Sea Bright looked like a couple of years ago about this time of the year.

Storefronts were torn and boarded up. Debris was knee-deep. Damage was being assessed.

And, among those assessing the damage was a Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School graduate.

Do you know which grad at work in the featured (never seen before) photo?

Hint: He’s in the party photo gallery above.

A New Year Gathering of RFH Grads

By Elaine Van Develde

Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) grads and friends gathered once again on Saturday for the annual Grady party.

The Gradys, Mike and Kathleen, both RFH grads from Rumson and Fair Haven, respectively, have been hosting the annual reunion-like event for many years now. In addition to the touching base with the extended Grady family itself, it’s pretty much an annual guarantee that this is the place and time to catch up with RFH alumni, their spouses and friends.

Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect caught up with RFH friends there, some dating back to kindergarten.

Take a look at the gallery above. Just click on any photo and scroll. Know anyone?

And many thanks to the Gradys for their generosity and a fabulously festive evening!