Tag Archives: obituary

Services for Fair Haven Centenarian Start Tuesday

Fair Havenite John Somerville passed away peacefully at his home on June 12. He was 100 years old.

Born in Evanston, IL to John and Corinne Patton Somerville, John divided his time between Chicago and Sarasota, FL. He graduated Asheville High School, Asheville, NC in 1934 and earned his undergraduate degree in engineering from Cornell University in 1938.

Continue reading Services for Fair Haven Centenarian Start Tuesday

Memorial Service Set for RFH Alum John Burdy

A memorial service will be held on Saturday for longtime Rumson resident John Burdy, who passed away at Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank on May 19. He was 64.

A graduate of Rumson-Fair Haven High School and Montclair State University, John was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church of Rumson.

“His love of music was reflected through his participation in the Choir of the First Presbyterian Church, as a longtime member of the Shrewsbury Chorale Society and his work with the Brookdale Concordia Chorale,” according to his obituary on the John E. Day Funeral Home website.

John was predeceased by: his parents, William and Gertrude Burdy, of Rumson.

He is survived by: his brother, John Frandsen, and wife Kate, of Morganville; his aunt, Grace Hartie, of Pompton Plains; and two cousins, Maureen Berardo and Patrick Hartie.

There will be a memorial service at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 6, 2015 at the First Presbyterian Church of Rumson, 4 East River Road, Rumson.

Memorial donations can be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Rumson and The Shrewsbury Chorale Society or The Brookdale Concordia Chorale.

— John E. Day Funeral Home

Former Rumson Beauty Salon Owner, Ella Gaynor, Dies at 87

Longtime Rumsonite and part owner of the Rumson Beauty Salon, Ella D. Gaynor, passed away peacefully at home on Monday, May 4.

Having lived most of her life in Rumson, Ella was born in Oakhurst. here mom, Dorothy, owned the Sugar Bowl, a “soda pop shop” in Rumson, where Ella worked while at RFH, according to her obituary by Thompson Memorial Home.

In addition to her business connection to Rumson, Ella was a member of what was known as the Carton Town Gang, a townie group. She loved boating and bowling and earned an associate’s degree, her obituary said.

Ella was predeceased by: her parents, Roderick and Dorothy (Gebien) Dangler; her husband, William H. Gaynor Jr., in 2003; and her son, William H. Gaynor III, in 2015.

She is survived by: her daughter, Judy Cuje and her husband Doug of Rumson; her son, Robert W. Gaynor, of Rumson; her sister, Joan Shea, of Tinton Falls; her daughter-in-law, Rosemary Gaynor; seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

There will be no services, as Ella wished.

— Obituary, courtesy of Thompson Memorial Home.

Services for Fair Haven’s Jeanetter Crowell Set


“Fair Haven has lost one of it’s pillars,” Fair Havenite Chris Brenner said on the borough’s Facebook page when the March 14 death of Jeanetter Crowell was announced.

Remembered as a top-notch seamstress, designer, gracious lady, friend, neighbor, wife and mom, comments flooded the page in remembrance of the 60-year Fair Haven resident who will be honored at a 10 a.m. Saturday viewing at Child’s Funeral Home in Red Bank followed by a noon service at the Fisk Chapel A.M.E. Church, 38 Fisk St., Fair Haven.

“She was the first friendly face to welcome us to Fair Haven many years ago, and I can’t imagine our neighborhood without her,” said Jeanetter Crowell’s neighbor Kevin Ryan in a memorial post of his own. “When I started working as the NJ child advocate, she came to my swearing-in, gave me a big hug and whispered in my ear, ‘stay close to Jesus.’ I’d like to think that’s her walk now, and one so richly deserved. Rest in peace sweet lady — we will miss you.”

And there were many more posts recounting her kindness and gentle, welcoming nature.

“Another piece of Fair Haven history gone,” John Olexa Sr. said. “RIP.”

“… So loved her, she was always so sweet when she came in to pay her taxes, borough tax collector Dale A Connor said. “She will missed.”

“She always opened her home to me whenever I came to town,” Nerphrita Norris said. “Had many good conversations with her. She was a part of my village.”

“Another passing of a good soul,” Carolynn Bruce Sickerman said.

Jeanetter Crowell was born on April 9, 1924 in Sumter, SC. The child of Reverend Jake Glisson and Lila Samuels Glisson, she graduated from St. Michael’s High School and attended Morris College in South Carolina.

Retired from Standard Awning Company, she “worked tirelessly on behalf of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union,” her obituary said.

Always seen around town ready to lend a hand wherever she could, Jeanetter is remembered as an avid volunteer in the church as a Sunday school teacher and as a pastor’s steward for the Steward board of Asbury Park’s Allen Chapel and Fisk A.M.E. Church Chapel.

In the community, she was involved in the PTA, Eastern Star, Democratic Party and was founder of the Ventures Club, a group that offered mentor and scholarship programs.

Once married to Powell Robinson, she was the mother of deceased Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School teacher Powell D. Robinson III, known as Dewey Robinson. She is survived by her daughter Rochelle Robinson Hendricks, according to her obituary on legacy.com.

Other than her son, Jeanetter was also predeceased by: her parents; her brothers, Abe, Luther, Jake, Jessie, Cliff, Joseph, Frank, James and Thomas; husbands, Powell Robinson and Curtis Crowell.

Besides her daughter, she is survived by: her sister, Leola Martin; daughter-in-law, Erika Robinson; grandchildren, Gioia and Matt Hermann, Talia and Sean Coles, Samson Hearn, Nygia Hearn, and Kiana Robinson; great-grandchildren, Alexandra and Josephine Hermann, Landon and Ronan Coles; special sister-in-law, Evelyn Cruz, and a host of nieces, nephews, and friends.

Jeanetter Crowell will be laid to rest at Monmouth Memorial Park, Tinton Falls.

Services Set for Fair Haven’s ‘Chum’ Chandler

The marquee on the Fair Haven firehouse is once again bearing some sad news.

Yet another member of the deep-rooted fire department kin has passed. Longtime Fair Havenites know the borough-anchored family. They knew the family’s departed patriarch and fondly remember his tall stature topped by a grand zest for life and love of all things family and community — it was all synonymous for the man people knew as Chum Chandler.

Chum, a lifelong Fair Haven resident and 65-year member of its fire company, died at 89 on March 8, leaving behind a compassionate life lived to the fullest, his family said in his obituary.

There will be a service/visitation for Chum Chandler on  Friday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at Thompson Memorial Home, 310 Broad St., Red Bank. There will be a fire department tribute at 7:30.

And on Saturday there will be a celebration, as his family put it in his obituary, of his life at the Fair Haven firehouse, on River Road, from 1 to 5 p.m.

Warren “Chum” Chandler will be buried in the Brig. Gen. Wm. C. Doyle Veterans Cemetery in Arneytown, NJ.

The following is some more information taken directly from his obituary on Thompson Memorial Home’s website:

Chum Chandler served his country proudly during WWII in the US Navy, South Pacific.

The owner of Chandler Septic Tank Service, Chum was a 65-year member of the Fair Haven Fire Department.

He loved to hunt, fish and crab and was a founding member of The Sea Bright Rod and Gun Club. He loved all sports and participated in the Rumson Veterans Football, the Willow Brook Golf Club, and numerous baseball teams and bowling leagues.

Chum as a loyal fan of the N.Y. Mets and Giants. He “lived a full life whose fun-loving personality will live on forever!”

Chum was predeceased by his wife Elizabeth “Betty” (Long).

He is survived by: sons Warren (Stephanie), George (Judi), Richard (Lisa), Peter (Natasha); daughters Elizabeth (Dan), Carol (Mike), Deborah (Dan); 15 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren; and special friend, Joan Fowler.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the Fair Haven Fire Department, 635 River Rd., Fair Haven, NJ 07704.

Many have good memories of Chum Chandler. Please share your memories with us as we prepare a full memorial tribute. Email anything you’d like to share to evd@rfhretro.com

Services for Fair Haven’s Barbara Bennett Set for Saturday

Fair Haven has lost a woman who many have referred to as a treasure of an environmentalist, neighbor and friend whom will be memorialized on Saturday.

A memorial service for longtime, well-known and liked Fair Havenite Barbara Bennett, who passed away after a brief illness on Jan. 24, will be held at Thompson Memorial Home, Red Bank, from 3 to 5 p.m. on Jan. 31.

Barbara, who was predeceased by husband Derry Bennett, the former head of the American Littoral Society, was known as an avid environmentalist and Clean Ocean Action volunteer. She is also remembered fondly as a birder, gardener, painter of nature, reader, New York Times crossword puzzle  , cook and jam-maker extraordonnaire, movie watcher, theatergoer, social worker, friend, neighbor, mom and grandma.

The Bennetts’ front lawn, uniquely flush with colorful perennials, sans the standard grass, was always a view this editor thoroughly enjoyed. In fact, many times a drive to Red Bank involved taking a detour past it just to brighten up the day. It always did the trick. Thanks for that!

” … our neighborhood and the Fair Haven community lost a feisty, energetic and profoundly caring woman,” Barbara and Derry’s neighbor Katy Badt Frissora said in a Facebook post the the Fair Haven page. “RIP Barbara Bennett.”

Born in Philadelphia, PA, in 1935, Barbara graduated from the Shipley School and attended the University of Pennsylvania and then went on to get her bachelor’s degree in English Literature and MSW from Rutgers University, her obituary said.

She married Derry, Derickson W. Bennett, in 1958. The couple had two children, Melanie and Rebecca, who they raised in upstate New York and in Fair Haven.

Barbara “worked as a dialysis social worker at Monmouth Medical Center in the early 1980s and volunteered with at-risk youth in a literacy program in the late 1980s.

She, in later years, became “a tireless volunteer with Clean Ocean Action and spent many years coordinating the annual Beach Sweeps events and editing the newsletter. She also was involved with the stewardship of Fair Haven Fields and volunteered with the Two River Theater,” her obituary said.

“One of her greatest joys was her beloved dog Jersey Girl. Barbara was a terrific cook and put up many a jar of Beach Plum and Spicy Peach jam to our delight.”

Barbara survived by: daughters Melanie Bennett, of Olympia, WA, and Rebecca Bennett, of Seattle, WA, and grandchildren Eric, Adrienne, and Galen.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Clean Ocean Action, P.O. Box 505, Highlands, NJ 07732, the American Littoral Society, 18 Hartshorne Drive, Suite #1, Highlands, NJ 07732, and Lunch Break, P.O. Box 2215, Red Bank, NJ 07701.

Remembrance: Memories and Connections Inspired by RFH Teacher Mimi Hughes

By Elaine Van Develde

“As long as there’s one person on Earth who remembers you, it isn’t over …”

It’s a line from the Rogers and Hammerstein musical Carousel that actor Mandy Patinkin recently recited on 60 Minutes to describe his faithful nightly ritual. Every single night, he remembers those in his life who have passed by naming them and reflecting on something memorable about them.

I believe, like Patinkin, that there’s an awful lot of truth to the words from the play. And I believe that we all need to pay attention to people who pass through our lives for one reason or another, perhaps altering our paths, and remember. Just remember.

All too often I hear from people, “I don’t remember.” Why not? If you care to remember, you will remember.

I care to remember. And I think that 26-year RFH English teacher, singer and actress, wife, mom and grandmother Mimi Hughes cared to remember. I think that, because when you remember people who passed through your life and passed the smallest to the most monumental elements of life onto you, you pass those things onto other people … and the cycle goes on.

You can see that she did this with her own family as well as with the many whose lives she touched in her own life’s journey.

I suppose I just can’t think of a more appropriate way to remember Mimi Hughes than through such words spoken in a musical, of all things. Words and music are much of what she was all about — what she left to me and many others.

And I suppose that she probably had no idea how she affected such a pivotal point in my life and likely many others’ in a similar way. That’s probably because being kind and generous of heart and talent just came so naturally to her — and with such grace.

But, I remember.  She is remembered, from that opening act to curtain call, and then some.

Act I …

I remember that first day at RFH, heading to Mrs. Hughes’ English class. I remember seeing this teacher carrying a load of books down the hall and wondering if that was her — my teacher. You could tell that pile was pretty heavy, but she just seemed to float right through the hall with it.

I actually don’t know why I remember this one thing, but I do — the books were always carried in front of her, not slung on the hip or in a bag. Though, she did have a bag.

I remember thinking what a towering presence she had and that she seemed to exude an extraordinary elegance. Then this lady rounded the corner of the classroom to which I was assigned. Yes, she was my teacher. And I thought she was just so cool.

As she unloaded the books on her desk, I also remember thinking that she was just so beautiful and intelligent looking — piercing, focused, but friendly blue eyes; and thick, dark hair with flecks of grey. Sometimes her readers were perched on the tip of her nose, always with the chain attached. And I’m pretty sure she was wearing a strand of pearls around her neck.

She had the looks of a classic movie actress with that intellectual writer’s bent.

She introduced herself and very neatly scrolled her name on the chalkboard. I can still hear her voice — eloquent, with a delicate, deliberately cultured cadence.

From that point on, Mimi Hughes had become a part of my life.

I always wanted to do well in her class, because she was just so kind and encouraging. I never wanted to disappoint her. That sort of unwaveringly kind encouragement blended with the most succinct, somehow soothing, honesty was her special blend of motivation for success. She never seemed to discourage. I remember that.

I remember even taking my English homework to rehearsals for a, nonetheless, community theater production of Carousel. 

I just had to impress her with my diligence, non-judgmental as she was.

Act II …

It wasn’t long after that when I discovered that Mrs. Hughes and her family were  involved in theater, too. I was doing shows at The Barn Theater and helping out with ushering and running the concession stand; and there they were.

I remember hearing her soprano voice in many a show. OK, so I don’t remember exactly which ones. But I do remember that voice and seeing her on that strange stage — more like bleachers surrounding a bare spot with lights and scenery, which was fabulous.

By the time I was a junior in high school the Hugheses and I were friends. We had done shows together. We were a theater family of sorts.

And that, in an uncanny way, carried onto the stage.

Mark played my husband, the mayor, in Bye Bye Birdie. Poor guy. All I did was scream and faint and he repeatedly scooped me up, bellowing, in his very old-sounding high school voice, “Edna!”

We were all in Fiddler on the Roof together. Nan, with her superb singing talent, played my daughter. Paul was Perchik. Mark was in the chorus, and, I think, Patrick was probably doing a show at The Barn. But that was a stage that was just right down the street. He was the youngest and not yet in high school then.

I was referred to as “big sis” and I was thrilled with the inclusion in the Hughes family.

And there were many more moments on and off stage.

Mimi Hughes and her family continued to figure quite prominently in what, to me, was a very special, sentimental senior year at RFH.

And I remember. Vividly.

We hung out together, popped over to the Hughes house across the street in between rehearsals, where Mimi always welcomed us. We sang around the piano at cast parties and, yes, thought we had hit some criminal pinnacle as we painted that infamous bridge senior year.

There was even one trek, in particular, that I recall with particular fondness, into New York City. Mrs. Hughes drove and we all sang in the back of their Mercedes station wagon. We were on a jaunt to dinner at Asti, that true showfolk restaurant where opera was sung throughout the meal and diners were sometimes invited to join in.

They grabbed Nan from the table, dressed her in some sort of hooded shroud and she appeared minutes later as part of a makeshift chorus.

Oh, and the ride home … Yes, the singing continued, but so did that game of transposing license initials into some sort of title, name or bizarre sentence.

I remember seeing Mrs. Hughes’ hair and grasp on the wheel from the back seat as she gently reminded us and Mr. Hughes, who was also playing, to keep it all wholesome.

Nan even came to see me at college when she was getting set to graduate from RFH.

Curtain …

The connection with the Hughes family has remained. I remember; and am grateful. Just last year I met up with Paul, whose son was in an RFH show, and Patrick.

There were so many moments. So many that made milestones in my life much more meaningful because of my connection to Mimi Hughes and her family.

I do remember. I remember that by the time I graduated from high school, I had decided that I wanted to not only act, but write as well.

I thought it was a  pretty cool combination, and Mrs. Hughes, to me, embodied the idea that I could do both in one way or another and be all that much more enriched to pay forward a love of family, theater and life and write about all of it and more.

Mimi Hughes’ memory, like the memory of so many we should remember, is a lesson.

That lesson is echoed in the song Try to Remember from the Fantasticks.

“Try to remember … and if you remember, then follow …”

Yes, follow.

Rest in peace, Mrs. Hughes. Thank you for bringing your family into my life and enriching it all the more. Though I think your son Paul remembers my mom more for having “tremendous milk” from the Acme (just as important, as it made my mom laugh for years), you are remembered. Your show isn’t over.