Obituaries

Patricia Lennon

Age 98 ~ Formerly of Haddonfield

Patricia Lennon, aka Pat, aka Patty Pie, aka Ma Lennon, aka Mrs L, aka the Tough Muffin, departed this life on June 12, in her 98th year.  She took flight peacefully, at home, and surrounded by the people she loved most.

Olga Patricia Heyn was born on Staten Island, New York, in 1922, the first of three children.  Their father abandoned the family when Patty was five.  The children and their mom moved in with Patty’s grandparents, and Patty and her sister Marie were boarding students at Notre Dame Academy on Staten Island.  Patty’s mother remarried in the early 1930s; as teenagers, the girls came home on weekends to a well-appointed co-op owned by their stepfather on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.  They and their brother Robert were adopted and took the last name of their stepfather, Ralph Willett.

Patty met Jim Lennon during World War II, introduced by Jim’s best Navy buddy.  Their first date was on the skating rink at Madison Square Garden.  Patty didn’t know how to skate, but she was damned if those skates were going to get the best of her, and damned if she was going to accept any help from Jim Lennon or anyone else.  That’s when Jim Lennon decided she was the girl for him, and she became his Tough Muffin.  On her part, Patty wasn’t looking for a boyfriend, but she was floored by the handsome guy in dress whites.  (She subsequently became a capable and graceful ice skater.  Of course.)

Patty and Jim married in 1946.  Jim was on an executive career track at RCA, Patty on an executive career track at Time Incorporated.  They moved frequently and enjoyed a free and comfortable lifestyle.  Prototypical yuppies.

Patty and Jim settled in Haddonfield in the late 1950s, with their son Beau.  Two other baby boys were lost during childbirth.  When Beau started school, Patty started on her true career, as a mainstay of her community.  The list of organizations to which Patty contributed is hard to believe, and almost too long to count:  Friends of the Library, Home-School Association, PTA, American Field Service, Interfaith Caregivers, Haddonfield Symphony, Haddonfield Planning Board, Haddonfield Democratic Club, Christ the King Bereavement Committee, Crow’s Woods Association, Sunny Day School.  And the two most important in her life:  the Durand Academy, whose board she chaired for nearly 20 years; and the Haddonfield Historical Society, where she was president three times, and was instrumental in the Society’s growth into a vibrant, active center of Haddonfield’s community life.  For a dozen years, she and Jim were surrogate grandparents every school day to a young man from a single-parent home (and became surrogate parents to his dad).  She was Haddonfield’s Citizen of the Year in 1978, and received local, State, and Congressional citations for her contributions to her community.  The new archives center at the Historical Society is being named in her honor.

When Beau finished high school, Patty re-entered the professional work force as a writer and editor for the Curtis Circulation Company in Philadelphia.  Where common sense dictated she cut back on her volunteer activities, Patty cut back instead on her sleep, waking at 4:30 every morning to get her volunteer work done before her paid workday started.  She supported Jim through severe illnesses in the 80s and 90s, until his death in 2002.  She was the best grandmother in the world to Beau’s two sons, Emerson and Edgar, and the best mother-in-law in the world to Beau’s wife, Mary.  In her own 90s Patty gave herself a break from volunteer work and traveled with Beau and her grandchildren to California and the Pacific Northwest, Ireland, and the Grand Canyon.  When living alone became difficult she moved in with Beau in New Hampshire, where for the past several years she has been a source of wit, intelligence, good humor, insight, wisdom, and support for Beau, her grandchildren, now ex-daughter-in-law Mary, grand-niece Morgan, and the many others whose lives she touched.  She was a special woman and a special spirit.  She will be much missed.

In addition to Jim, she was predeceased by her brother Robert.  She is survived by her son Beau (aka Mark) and grandsons Emerson and Edgar, by her sister Marie and her husband Ernest Yelton, and by the many hundreds of people whose lives she touched for the better.

A memorial Mass will be held in Patty’s honor and memory in the early Autumn.  She asked that any remembrances in her name be in contributions to the Haddonfield Historical Society.

Frances E. Rushton Reinert

Age 89 of Haddonfield, NJ

(nee Dildine)  On June 9, 2019, age 89, Survived by Charles F. Reinert & the late Dr. Harold W. Rushton; Mother of David (Debra) of Front Royal, VA, Mark (Alla) of Boulder, CO, Christopher (Andreza) of Irvington, NY, Leslie (Barry) Cerf of Philadelphia, PA, Nan of Audubon, NJ, Daniel (Sharon) of Poughkeepsie, NY  and the late Jayne  Rushton; Grandmother of eleven; Great-grandmother of one and mother-in-law of George Surowicz.

Mrs. Rushton Reinert’s Celebration of Life service on Friday, June 21st, 4-5:15 PM, at Kain-Murphy Funeral Services, 15 West End Ave., Haddonfield, NJ will include greetings of family and friends from 4 PM to 5:15 PM followed by spoken remembrances and stories from 5:30 to 6 PM.  In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in honor of Mrs. Rushton Reinert may be made to either Holy Redeemer Hospice, 150 Ninth  Ave., Runnemede, NJ 08078 or to the ASPCA at  https://www.aspca.org/ways-to-give/mail-check .

 

Marcia B. Roberts

Age 67 ~ Longtime Barrington Resident

(nee Rainville); On June 12, 2019; Age 67; Beloved wife of Stephen; Devoted mother of Erin of Albany, NY and Kathleen (Kyle) Brown of Oakland, CA; Loving grandmother of George and Maureen Brown; also survived by 2 sisters and 3 brothers.

Marcia was a longtime Barrington resident and an active parishioner at St. Rose of Lima Church.  She began teaching in Queensbury, NY and then taught English at Pitman HS for 32 years.  Marcia loved the outdoors, was an active volunteer at Interfaith Caregivers for over 10 years and was a member of Tavistock County Club.

All are welcome to attend Marcia’s Memorial Mass on Monday, June 17th at 10:00 AM at St. Rose of Lima Church, 300 E. Kings Hwy, Haddon Hts., NJ.  Interment Private. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Marcia may be made to Interfaith Caregivers, P.O. Box 186, Haddonfield, NJ 08033.

Myra Louise Peck

Age 72, of Haddonfield formerly of Delran, NJ

Myra passed away peacefully at home on June 9, 2019, at the age of 72. She was a loving mother of Edward Waters Ray of Orange, CA, Katharine (nee Peck) (Kimberly) Stephan of Phila., PA and Calvin (Caitlin) Peck of Ocean City, NJ. Loving grandmother of Kai, Cooper, and Waverly. Myra hopes to be reunited with her dear Aunt Mildred and faithful companion, Murphy.

Myra was born in Plainfield, NJ, raised her children in Delran, NJ, and then moved to Madison Corners, NH. Myra spent over 20 years in NH, was an active member in her community, and achieved a Master’s in Education. Myra started a school in North Conway, NH for students who wanted a high school diploma vs GED. She moved back to Delran to be closer to her family in 2014, then resided with the caring staff and residents at Brandywine Living in Haddonfield, NJ in 2018.

She is remembered as a strong and beautiful loving mother and grandmother who worked tirelessly to leave a legacy behind.

Myra’s family will greet friends on Monday, June 17th, 2019 from 10-10:45 AM at Christ the King RC Church, 200 Windsor Ave., Haddonfield, NJ 0833 where her Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 11 AM.  Interment at St. Magdalen Cemetery, Flemington, NJ. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Myra may be made to the Parkinson’s Foundation, www.parkinson.org/.

Betsy Ann Gagliardi

Age 76 of Voorhees, formerly of Haddonfield

(nee Byers); On June 10th, 2019; lifelong Haddonfield resident; loving wife of Richard and is survived by son David Gagliardi, daughter Ann (Douglas) Marshall and grandchildren Emily, Kaelin and Andrew Marshall.

Betsy had an incredible love for flowers, gardening and an amazing artistic eye for flower arranging. She won awards in several design categories in the Philadelphia Flower Show.  Betsy was a 25-year member of the Haddonfield Garden Club and served as chairperson for several years.  Betsy was also a talented artist who excelled in oil painting, water colors and multifaceted art projects. She loved to volunteer and help those around her.  Betsy was a loving and giving wife, mother, grandmother, and friend who is leaving a lasting legacy.

Betsy’s family will greet friends on Friday, June 14th, 2019 from 9:30-10:00 AM at Grace Episcopal Church, 19 Kings Hwy E, Haddonfield, NJ 08033 where her Memorial Service will follow at 10:15 AM.  Interment private.  In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Betsy may be made to World Vision Donations, PO Box 78481, Tacoma, WA 98481-8481.

Gladys Elizabeth Palmer Bewley O’Brien

Age 96 of Medford, NJ

Gladys Palmer Bewley O’Brien, former Director of the Haddonfield Public Library, longtime resident of Haddonfield, NJ, and, since 2000, a resident of Medford Leas in Medford, NJ, died on June 2, 2019 of complications of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Mrs. O’Brien was born in 1923 in Bayonne, New Jersey, the daughter of Gladys Elizabeth Powers Palmer and Garner David Palmer. Her brother, David G. Palmer, predeceased her in 2013. Her family moved frequently as she was growing up; she attended seven different grade schools in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio before settling at Barringer High School in Newark, NJ.  She graduated from Barringer in 1940, earning the Bamberger Medal for Scholarship. She studied Spanish, Portuguese and French as an undergraduate and received her B.A., Cum Laude, from New Jersey College for Women (which later became Douglass College, Rutgers University) in 1944.

During her senior year at NJCW she married Philip B. Bewley, who predeceased her in 1981. After her graduation, they moved to Frostproof, FL, where she taught Spanish. They had three children, Peter (Lee), Susan and Elizabeth (Stephen Brubaker), two grandsons, Peter, Jr. (Amy) and Stephen (Jennifer), and seven great grandsons, Colin, Liam, Matthew “Max”, Owen, Aiden, Carter and William, who all survive her. From 1948 to 1960 the family lived in Metuchen, NJ. While there, Mrs. O’Brien returned to graduate school at Rutgers. The family moved to Haddonfield in 1960 and she continued her studies long distance, earning her Masters in Library Service from Rutgers in 1963.

Mrs. O’Brien began working at the Haddonfield Public Library as the reference librarian in 1961 while still in graduate school. She left for a short time in 1966 to work as a consultant for the Drexel Graduate School of Library Science. She shortly returned to the Haddonfield library and, in 1974, became the Director, a position she held until her retirement in 1981. She briefly returned to work as the interim Director of the Gloucester County College Library in 1985. She also acted as a part-time consultant for the State Library of New Jersey from 1968 to 1980.

Douglas Rauschenberger, her successor as director of the Haddonfield Public Library, had this to say:

“Gladys was the consummate professional and to me a tremendous mentor. We shared the same view of libraries and what they can and should be and I am forever in her debt for her encouragement and guidance of my career.

She became a library director at a crucial time in the development of libraries – with the “information explosion” of the 1960s and 1970s. She had a clear and unwavering vision of the importance of public libraries – how they could empower people and enhance communities. Although she was a very passionate reader, especially of serious contemporary fiction, books themselves were not her main focus. She believed libraries were educational institutions — the connector of people of all ages, interests and backgrounds with information to enhance and enrich their lives. Books, although important, were only a tool in that process. Not infrequently people would inquire about employment at the library and say to her “I love books.” Her standard reply: “That is the least important qualification for working at the library. The library is about serving people.” (The applicant didn’t see her bristle – but I knew it was there under the surface!)

She also believed intensely about networking and cooperating with other libraries, the importance of upgrading of professional library standards, especially educational requirements for librarians, and she viewed supporting and participating in professional organizations as a basic requirement for all librarians. Haddonfield and its citizens were well served during her years as director and in other professional positions.”

In 1986, Mrs. O’Brien married Robert O’Brien, who was also a longtime Haddonfield resident. Together they thoroughly enjoyed more than two decades of exploring far away places, reveling in the accomplishments of each other’s children and grandchildren, holding hands during walks through the splendid arboretum at Medford, and sharing every sunset and sunrise. They were so fortunate to have each other during that last quarter century of their lives. Mr. O’Brien predeceased her in 2009. His three children, Sharon Kurtz (Joseph), Sheila Leech (David) and Dan O’Brien (Helene), his seven grandchildren, Julia Pezzella (Anthony), Joseph Kurtz III (Danielle), Jeffrey and Ryan (Margaret “Marmie”) Leech, and Tim, Tess and Bridget O’Brien, and his four great grandchildren, Dominic and Calvin Pezzella, Joseph Kurtz IV and Mackenzie Kurtz, also survive her.

A member of the Haddonfield United Methodist Church, Mrs. O’Brien became the church’s Archivist in 1997, a position she held until she moved to Medford. Throughout her life, Mrs. O’Brien was deeply involved in professional, civic and cultural activities, usually as a leader. She was a member of the Associate Alumnae of Douglass College (and the Secretary for several years), League of Women Voters, Libraries Unlimited (and Chairman of the first By-Laws Committee), the Middle Atlantic Regional Library Federation (and a member of the Board of Directors),  the American Library Association, the New Jersey Library Association (Secretary and member of the Board), the Camden Area Library Coordinating Council (member of the Steering Committee), New Jersey Task Force for Library Standards, New Jersey State Library Statistics Revision Committee, the Haddonfield Historical Society (Executive Board member), the Haddonfield Bicentennial Commission, the New Jersey League of Historical Societies (Trustee), the Haddon Fortnightly, the Elizabeth Haddon Chapter of the New Jersey State Questers (and Secretary), the New Jersey Committee for the Philadelphia Orchestra (where she chaired the Annual Giving Program for many years), Zonta International, the American Contract Bridge League (Junior Master) and the Parnassus Book Club (in which she held every office).

Mrs. O’Brien is described by those who knew her as intelligent, rational, organized, practical, an adherent of fact-based decision making, inquisitive, a stickler for proper grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary, one who set high standards for herself and others, a strong supporter of education, loyal, a nature lover, a devotee of process improvement, a survivor in difficult situations and a gentlewoman.

A memorial service will be held at 1:00 PM on Saturday, August 17, 2019, at the Haddonfield United Methodist Church, 29 Warwick Rd, Haddonfield, NJ.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that memorial donations be made to the Rutgers University Foundation in support of the Gladys Palmer Bewley O’Brien Memorial Endowed Fellowship. Please send your donation to:

Attn: Rob Eccles
Rutgers University
School of Communication and Information
4 Huntington Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

John C. Drew, Jr.

Age 79 of Haddonfield, NJ

On June 1, 2019; Age 79; Beloved husband of Joyce (nee Lilley); Devoted father of Bud (Sharon Keefe) Bufala of Haddon Twp. and Sharon (Larry) Gregorio of Haddonfield.  Loving Grandfather of Johnny, Kevin and Lily Gregorio.

John was a longtime Haddonfield resident, member of Tavistock County Club and 65 Club. He was a Class of ’57 grad from Collingswood HS, was very involved with Alumni Reunions.   He proudly served his country in the Military Police Force while stationed in Vietnam. John spent most of his career working in parts distribution for Xerox Corp in Cherry Hill.  He was a member of the Haddonfield United Methodist Church and later joined the Lutheran Church of Our Savior in Haddonfield. John was an avid sports fan, devoted to HMHS wrestling.  He enjoyed spending time with his family, especially while on family vacations.

John’s family will greet friends on Tuesday, June 11th, 11-11:45 AM at Kain-Murphy Funeral Services, 15 West End Ave., Haddonfield, NJ; where his Memorial Service will follow at noon.  Interment Private.  In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of John can be made to either the Lutheran Church of Our Savior, 204 Wayne Ave, Haddonfield, NJ 08033 or Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) Foundation, PO Box 781352, Philadelphia, PA 19178-1352.

Thomas A. Henderson

Age 87 ~ Longtime Haddonfield Resident

On June 3, 2019; Age 87; Longtime Haddonfield Resident.  Survived by 7 Nieces and 2 Nephews; several great-nieces and great-nephews.  Predeceased by parents James and Katherine (nee Sweeten), brothers James Jr., Charles and (twin) George, sisters Florence and Katherine Decell.

It is with heavy hearts and tear-filled eyes that we must announce the passing of our much beloved Uncle Tom. We take comfort in knowing that, as the last member of his immediate family, he has reunited with his parents and siblings, to complete the family circle in heaven.  A devout and generous Christian, Uncle Tom was a long-time member of Christ The King Catholic Church in Haddonfield NJ. He attended daily where he enjoyed the fellowship and going out for after mass meals with his many friends. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army having served in the Panama Canal Zone as a member of the Military Police. After receiving his degree from Saint Joseph’s University, Tom had a long and successful career as a CPA at the IRS.

Tom’s family will receive friends on Monday, June 10th, 10-10:45 AM at Christ The King Church, 200 Windsor Ave., Haddonfield, NJ 08033, where his Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 11 AM.  Interment Private.  In lieu of flowers, donations in Tom’s memory may be made to a charity of one’s choice. Mass Cards are especially appreciated.

Leonard J. Sczechowicz, Jr.

Age 63 of Mullica Hill, NJ

On May 28, 2019; Age 63; Beloved husband of Susan (nee Noveral); Devoted father of Jaclyn (Jonathan) Chrysler of Mullica Hill and Leonard, J. III of San Diego, CA; Treasured grandfather of Cailin Pearl and Jonathan, Jr. Chrysler; Loving brother of John (Janice) Sczechowicz of Haddonfield and Margaret (James) Montemurro of Margate; Dear uncle to several nieces and nephews.

Leonard’s family will greet friends on Friday, May 31st, 9-10:45 AM at Christ The King RC Church, 200 Windsor Ave., Haddonfield, NJ where his Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 11 AM.  Interment at St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Blackwood, NJ.

Marion C. Bircher

Age 90 of Cherry Hill, NJ

(nee Warrington); On May 22, 2019; Age 90, formerly of Phila;  Beloved wife of the late Frank; Devoted mother of Jacqueline (Arthur) Peterson of North Wildwood, the late Eileen Van Note and the late Diane Keck;  Loving grandmother of  Christine (Charles) Stock, George (Janet) Van Note, Kelli Peterson (Theodore Kneller), Ryan (Gina) Peterson and Matthew & James Keck; great-grandmother of 8; Beloved sister of Joan Rowland and Edna Donovan; Dear aunt to Susanne and Frank Donovan, Lori Cummings, Linda Bowen and Robert Rowland, Jr.

Marion’s family will greet friends on Tuesday, May 28th at 11:00 AM at Kain-Murphy Funeral Services, 15 West End Ave., Haddonfield, NJ; where her memorial service will follow at 11:30 AM.  In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Marion can be made to Samaritan Healthcare and Hospice, 5 Eves Drive, Suite 300, Marlton, NJ 08053.