Clifton Merchant Magazine - May 2010

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Clifton Merchant Magazine is published the first Friday of every month at 1288 Main Ave., Downtown Clifton • 973-253-4400

On April 29, training with NYC Firefighter Instructor Joe O’Donnell (red hat), from left: Clifton Firefighters Eric Marshaleck, Pete Schmidt, Dave McCann and Frank Yodice. Kneeling is Lt. Brett Blake and Firefighter Will Espinoza.

Cutting a 4’ x 4’ hole in the roof to ventilate smoke and hot gases is not easy under fire conditions, so it is good to practice this procedure under controlled circumstances. That why when the home on the on the corner of Svea and Colfax Aves., which will soon be demolished, was offered for training, the Clifton Fire Department made good use of it. Members from Ladder 3 and Truck 2 from all four shifts trained at this site, practicing procedures for placement of apparatus, accessing the roof area, extracting an injured firefighter and ventilating the building. Members are required to don all equipment (approximately 75 pounds) while performing these tasks and to react as it in an engaged fire. 16,000 Magazines

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May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

Editor & Publisher

Tom Hawrylko Business Manager

Cheryl Hawrylko

Graphic Designer

Rich McCoy Staff Writer

Joe Hawrylko Contributing Writers

Irene Jarosewich, Carol Leonard, Rich DeLotto, Don Lotz, Jack DeVries

lifton has a storied war history, with our city sending thousands of its young men and women off to the many conflicts over the past century. Unfortunately, not everyone came home. Many Cliftonites, like other Americans, made the ultimate sacrifice in almost every major war, giving their life to defend the freedoms of Americans everywhere. In total, more than 300 residents perished in battle between World War I and the Iraqi War. In Vietnam alone, 29 young men from Clifton died in combat or during service, and you can find those stories on the following pages. That information was compiled ten years ago thanks to Rich DeLotto and Robert Wahlers. Many of those deceased veterans will be recognized with a flag in the Field of Honor, which is an addition to the Avenue of Flags specifically created to observe the sacrifice that these individuals gave. Chair John Biegel will speak at a small ceremony to dedicate the Field of Honor, which will be held on May 30 at 1 pm in front of the flag pole at City Hall. The Avenue of Flags is a memorial of nearly 1,300 American flags that are posted up on the City Hall campus. The flags, which can be purchased for $100, are put up by volunteers on Memorial Day, Flag Day, July 4th, 9/11 and Veterans Day. To purchase one, call John Biegel at 973-519-0858 or contact others on the committee.


Table of Contents Faces & Stories of Fallen Heroes . . . . . .9 Roll Call of Our Honored Dead . . . . . .36 Richard Scott: A Year in Vietnam . . . .43 The Friends of Athenia Veterans . . . .48 Friends, Family Recall Service History . .50 City Council Voter’s Guide . . . . . . . . . .67 Board of Education Wrap Up . . . . . . .78 Adeline DeVries’ Night of Fame

. . . .79

Edna Siver: Looking Back at 94 . . . . . .80 Ellie Schimpf’s Longevity Secret . . . . .83 CHS Senior Domenica Perrone . . . . . .93 Gardening: A Family Affair

. . . . . . . .94

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May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


On April 21, council members, city officials, representatives from the Recreation Department and others from various Clifton athletic clubs were on hand for a groundbreaking ceremony for Athenia Steel Park. Located off of Clifton Ave., near Paulison Ave., the city recently completed the required remediation of this 16 acre portion of the property, which was purchased in 1999. The plan call for two large turfed fields, one smaller field, a concession stand, restrooms, picnic areas, parking and walking paths. The city hopes to open the park in the Fall of 2011.


May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


This Memorial Day...

We Salute America’s Veterans East Ridgelawn Cemetery invites you to visit our Mausoleum on Main Avenue to pause, reflect and remember the lives of those who have passed. Visits are unlimited and unaffected by the weather. Crypts are located in the building and convenient for elderly and handicapped. Mausoleum entombment provides greater Peace of Mind & Security.

East Ridgelawn Cemetery 255 Main Avenue, Clifton, NJ 07014 for more information with no obligation call:


• niches • mausoleum • garden graves • non-sectarian • monumental graves • no obligation pre-need counseling • financing available one-year at no interest on easy monthly plans 8

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

The Faces of Clifton’s Fallen Heroes Cliftonites who died during the Vietnam War

Stories by Rich DeLotto & Robert Wahlers • Illustrations by Charles Bolcar Rich DeLotto, a Clifton Firefighter, is also quite a historian. Back in 1999, he spent countless hours at the library, studying newspaper clippings that reported the deaths of Clifton servicemen who died during the Vietnam War. About that time he formed the Vietnam Remembrance Committee and made contact with Bill Van Eck, Eugene Murphy and Matt Rugel, who were co-workers of Thomas Dando, the second Clifton serviceman to die in Vietnam. The men, who worked at the old Giuvadan plant in Delawanna, posted a picture of their fallen comrade in the production plant to honor Dando’s sacrifice. The picture remained on a bulletin board there for more than 30 years. When the building was demolished in

1999, Murphy took down the photo and saved it. He then forwarded it to Clifton Merchant and that photo is centered on this month’s cover and is still displayed in the front of our office. DeLotto continued his detective work into 2000, tracking down family members and asking them to share their memories of their sons and brothers. When he was done, DeLotto shared the information he had gathered with contributing writer Robert Wahlers, who transformed the many pieces of the puzzle into the short biographies you’ll read on the following pages. It is a project we once again proudly present as a tribute to our Fallen Heroes, to share their stories of honor, sacrifice and to keep their memories eternal. May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


Matt Rugel will never forget Palm Sunday, 1967. “I was on my way to St. Paul Church for services that day when I saw an Army car in front of the Dando’s home on Second St.,” Rugel recalled. He stopped to speak with the sergeant, who confirmed his fears. “The sergeant told me he was at the house because Tom Dando had been killed in action,” Rugel said. Rugel went on to church. During the services, Father Frank Rodimer, the former bishop of the Paterson Diocese, announced that another Clifton serviceman, Alfred Pino, had died in Vietnam a few days before. “I think that was the saddest day of my life,” said Rugel, who worked at the Giuvadan plant on Delawanna Ave. with Dando. Rugel, who now lives in Butler, recalled another sad day. “I remember it was Tom who told me the news about President Kennedy being shot,” Rugel said. Alfred Pino and Tom Dando were the first two servicemen from Clifton to lose their lives in the Vietnam War. Here are the stories of those that lost their lives on that Palm Sunday week long ago.

ALFRED PINO Lance Corporal Alfred Pino, USMC, died in action on March 16, 1967 in Quang Tri province. He was 20 years old. Born in Paterson on December 13, 1946, Pino moved to Clifton when he was about six years old. The Pino family lived on both Park Slope and Lockwood Place. Alfred graduated Clifton High School in 1965 and worked at the Food Fair in Verona before enlisting in the Marines in January 1966. “Freddie wanted to join the Navy because our father served with that branch during World War II,” said David Pino, Alfred’s brother. “He couldn’t get in so he decided to join the Marines.” David, who was two years younger than his brother, recalled that Alfred loved sports and participated in the Clifton’s football and Little League programs. Alfred also had a younger sister, Linda, who was 11 years old at the time of his death. 10

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

After Alfred went through basic training, he arrived in Vietnam in July, 1966, assigned to the 1st Battalion of the 9th Division. Alfred planned to marry Loretta Russo upon his return; she lived on Rollins Ave.

THOMAS DANDO Thomas Dando was born on February 3, 1945 and attended the Holy Trinity School in Passaic. He served as an altar boy at the Holy Trinity Church and was a member of the CYO or Catholic Youth Organization. Later, he attended Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey and the began taking classes at Rutgers University in Newark. “He wanted to be a pharmacist,” said Dando’s sister, Mary Rabolli, who resides in Garfield. “But after a while, he left Rutgers and started working at Giuvadan with my father, Jacob. He decided to go back to school, however, and that’s when he started taking night classes at Bloomfield College. An excerpt from a January 29, 1967 letter Tom Dando wrote to his 4-year-old nephew, Charles Guess what, Chuck... your Uncle Tom is sleeping out in the woods every nite now and I go out for long walks, which we call patrols, every day looking for the bad guys. Today a small helicopter crashed right by my foxhole when its tail got caught in barbed wire as it was landing. No one was hurt and just about an hour ago a big helicopter, called a Chinook, came and picked up the small one and took it to be fixed. I took a lot of pictures of both helicopters and you tell Aunt Judi to show them to you when she gets them. I also took a picture of a little Vietnamese farmer boy about 5 years old as he was taking his daddy’s water buffalo out to feed. Mommy sent me your picture and it looks like you're getting pretty big. When I get home I guess you will be big enough to go fishing with me and Pop-Pop and swimming with me and Aunt Judi. How’s that?… Uncle Tom

Mary recalled her brother as “a very alive, happygo-lucky guy. I remember that he drove a Pontiac convertible and that he hoped to own a boat one day.” Dando had to put his dreams on hold, however, when he received his draft notice from the Army. In September, 1965 he took basic training at Fort Devens, Mass. During his time there, he was named “Soldier of the Month.” While on leave in May 1966, he married Judith Milanoch at St. Paul Church and the newlyweds enjoyed some time together at their home on Second St. in Clifton. By that summer, Dando was in Vietnam, serving with the 196th Light Infantry in and around Tay Ninh province. Eight months later, the Army transferred him to Company B, Third Battalion, Fourth Infantry Division. Dando’s first mission with his new outfit involved an assault on the village of Dau Tieng on March 19, 1967, in the midst of a larger plan, entitled Operation Junction City. The operation, one of the largest helicopter assaults ever staged, had begun on Feb. 21 and would last for 72 days. Dando was among the approximately 30,000 troops who took part in the extended operation, the goal of which was to destroy Vietcong bases north of Saigon. According to reports, the helicopter Dando was riding in that day exploded, possibly from artillery fire or because it came into contact with a land mine. Dando died as a result of burns. “Because it was his first mission with the Fourth Infantry, no one knew Tom. Our family has never spoken with anyone who was there that day,” said Mary. Mary said she does take comfort in the fact that, like many of the servicemen from Clifton who died during wartime, a street is named in her brother’s honor.

“I think it is a most fitting tribute,” she said of the Montclair Heights road. “A street is a living thing. Children ride their bikes, teens play basketball, people meet and socialize, families live there. Tom would have liked this memorial.”

KEITH FRANCIS PERRELLI Another early casualty of the Vietnam War was Keith Francis Perrelli, who was born on January 7, 1947 and grew up on Van Houten Ave. in the Athenia section. His maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Iwanoski, owned Olly’s Tavern, on the corner of Van Houten and Marconi. In 1962, when Keith was 15, the Perrelli family moved to Oak Ridge. Perrelli became a three-letter athlete — football, baseball and basketbal — while attending Franklin High School, which is now known as Walkill Valley High School. After completing high school, Perrelli joined the Marines and arrived in Vietnam in January 1967, around the time of his 20th birthday. He would eventually be stationed at the Con Thien base camp, located two-and-one-half miles south of the buffer zone between the two Vietnams. One newspaper account described Con Thien as a “frontier fort.” Around September 1, 1967, an artillery duel ensued between the dug-in Marines of the 1st Division and North Vietnamese troops, who reportedly had moved at least three divisions — approximately 35,000

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men —into the DMZ or DeMilitarized Zone, in preparation for an invasion. Perrelli and his fellow Marines stood in their way. On September 25, 1967, during an artillery attack, Perrelli and another Marine were killed and 90 wounded, bringing the total casualty count since the battle began to 63 dead and 875 wounded. On the day that Perrelli died, Marine gunners fired 9,000 artillery shells, B52 bombers flew several raids and Seventh Fleet warships tried to lock in on suspected North Vietnamese gun positions. General William Westmoreland called the assault the heaviest conventional bombardment “in the history of warfare.” Perrelli was survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Frank C. Perrelli, a sister, Deidre and a brother Duane, who was serving in the Air Force when Keith died. Duane, a Sparta resident, said his parents have moved to Florida and remain active in programs related to Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day. Louise Van Decker, Poppy Chair for the American Legion Auxiliary, reminds readers that American Legion Post 347 will be accepting donations for poppies made by disabled and needy veterans. Proceeds go to the Legion’s program to support those vets. To donate and receive your poppies, call 973-546-9876.


May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

CAROLL R. WILKIE Some 10 years ago, Rich DeLotto, chair of the Vietnam Remembrance Committee, discovered a mystery while conducting research on the 27 Clifton men whose names are listed on the Main Memorial war monument as being killed in Vietnam. “I had a list of the killed in action dates for everyone, so I was searching through the newspaper archives looking for Keith Perelli, who died on September 25, 1967,” DeLotto said. “That’s when I came across the name of Carroll R. Wilkie and I noticed that he was a 1947 graduate of Clifton High School. “His death was announced the day before Perelli’s, but I had never heard of him before,” DeLotto recalled. “His name was not among the 27. I also discovered that he was not listed on the Vietnam Monument in Washington D.C.” According to the obituary that DeLotto found, 38-

year-old Marine Gunnery Sergeant Wilkie had suffered a cardiac arrest while serving in the Da Nang area of Vietnam on September 18, 1967. He was then flown back to Travis Air Force base in San Francisco, where he died on Sept. 20. The announcement of his death appeared in local papers of northern New Jersey several days later. Wilkie’s mother, Mrs. George Saretsky, resided in Garfield at the time. His wife, the former Jean Catanacci of Bloomfield, and two daughters, Carol Ann and Kathy, were living in Carlsbad, California, near Camp Pendleton. In an attempt to correct the oversight of omitting Wilkie’s name from the national monument, DeLotto contacted the United States Marine Corps headquarters in Quantico, Virginia. In February 2000, DeLotto received a written reply from Captain T. Walls, an administrative officer with the Casualty Branch, Personal and Family Readiness Division. Outlining the guidelines for someone to be added to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C., Captain Walls told DeLotto that the “criteria does not include service members that die as a result of a service-connected disabilities or disease. Gunnery Sergeant Wilkie’s death did not occur in the defined combat zone. Therefore, he is not eligible...” Stymied by the machinery of government, DeLotto turned his energies to his hometown. “Here’s a guy who was a Marine for 21 years,” said DeLotto, noting that besides his service in Vietnam, Wilkie was also stationed in Japan, Korea and Hawaii. “The bottom line is he died of his wounds in the U.S. rather than Vietnam. It’s a question of geography and that just isn’t fair.” DeLotto then brought the story to the attention of Walter Pruiksma, who then headed the Clifton War Veterans Alliance Monument Committee.

Based on the facts uncovered by DeLotto, the monument committee agreed to add Wilkie’s name to the Clifton war dead. Later research by DeLotto also uncovered the name of a 29th serviceman who died in Vietnam, Bruce McFadyen.

BRUCE MCFADYEN Navy Lt. Bruce Searight McFadyen’s name was inscribed on the Clifton War Monument Memorial in 2000, thanks to the digging Rich DeLotto did back then. The addition brought the total number of Clifton servicemen who are honored for their sacrifice in the Vietnam War up to 29. Bruce McFadyen was born in Montclair on Jan. 12, 1943. At the time of his birth, his parents, Robert and Charlotte Murphy McFadyen, lived on Surrey Lane in the Allwood section of Clifton. Six months later, as World War II raged, Robert left Clifton to serve in the Navy and Mrs. McFadyen and Bruce moved in with relatives. After the war, the McFadyens returned to Allwood and lived there until 1950, when they moved to Upper Montclair. Bruce McFadyen later attended Peddie School in Hightstown, where he served as captain of the swimming team. For several summers, he also coached the Glen Ridge Country Club swim team in the Essex Inter-Club Swim League. McFadyen later became a varsity swimmer at Colgate, where he was also an officer of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.

God I am proud to Join Clifton Bless in its Annual Salute America to America’s Veterans... May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


After graduating Colgate in 1965, McFadyen decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and attended the Navy’s officer candidate school at Newport, R.I. After being commissioned, he began his tour of duty in Vietnam in the spring of 1968, serving aboard the Oklahoma City, which was the flagship of the Seventh Fleet. After undergoing ordinance disposal training, McFadyen transferred to the USS Enterprise, a nuclear powered aircraft carrier. He spent most of the year aboard the ship before being transferred again, this time to Saigon. On Jan. 17, 1969, five days after he celebrated his 26th birthday, McFadyen was serving as a member of an explosive disposal unit when a 400-pound bomb exploded at the water’s edge in Nah Be, located in the delta region of South Vietnam. The explosion killed him instantly. He was four months away from completing his active military service.

BOHDAN KOWAL Spec. 4 Bohdan Kowal of Clifton was reported killed by enemy small arms fire on Saturday, April 8, 1967 in Hua Nghia Province, while serving as a rifleman with the 9th Infantry Regiment, 25th Division. Born in Germany on May 25, 1946, Bohdan was the son of Stanley and Helen Kowal, Ukrainian immigrants who had been forced into slave labor by the Nazis during World War II. The Kowals came to the United States in 1949 and later lived on Paulison Ave. in Clifton. They had two younger sons, Michael and John, and were parishioners of St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church in Passaic. Bohdan played soccer as a Mustang at Clifton High, graduated in 1965 and was inducted into the Army in December of that year. He began his tour of duty in Vietnam in July 1966. Although no family members could be found in the area, the lamentful words of Helen Kowal remain preserved in a newspaper article published at the time of her son’s death. “He never had anything,” Helen Kowal was quoted as saying. “When he was a baby, he did not even 14

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

have a piece of bread. He never went anywhere or had a chance to enjoy anything. Why do they take the boys so young, when there are so many older men around?” Like many oversea, Bohdan was homesick. Helen Kowal said in letters to her, he expressed his longing to be home. In one of the last letters she received, he told her that “I’ll be home in 103 more days.”

LESZEK KULACZKOWSKI Just like the parents of Bohdan Kowal, Leszek Kulaczkowski’s mother and father were Eastern Europeans who came to America in search of a better life. That search led to tragedy for both families as a result of their sons’ sacrifices. The son of Antoni and Alfreda Kulaczkowski, Leszek was born on Jan. 26, 1947 in a village close to Krakow, Poland. The Kulaczkowskis came to the United States in 1964 in pursuit of their chapter of the American Dream. After finding work and settling in the community, they found a home on Speer Ave. in Clifton. Leszek worked for a construction firm installing aluminum siding. He was a parishioner of St. John Kanty Church and a member of the church’s St. Theresa Choir. Not yet an American citizen, Leszek was drafted in September 1968 and later assigned to the Army’s 8th Infantry, 4th Division. It is unclear when his tour of duty in Vietnam started. On Nov. 22, 1969, his family received two letters from Leszek, who mentioned that he was being sent to an encampment outside of the combat area for some rest. The day after Leszek’s letters reached his loved ones, the Vietcong launched a mortar attack on the encampment. The bombardment claimed the life of Leszek. He was 22 years old. Leszek was transported home to Clifton and then after services at St. John Kanty Church, his body was laid to rest in Our Lady of Chestokowich, a Polish cemetery located outside of Philadelphia. Following the loss of their only child, Mr. and Mrs. Kulaczkowski left their adopted nation behind and returned to Poland.

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


f the men listed on the Clifton war monument who died in Vietnam, the youngest to be killed in action was 18-year-old PFC Robert Kruger. The oldest to die was Master Gunnery Sgt. William Zalewski, 51. In between the two is Staff Sergeant John Bilenski, who died three days short of his 29th birthday. Despite the age differences, they had a lot in common. As the anthem goes, they were proud to hold the title of United States Marine. Kruger landed in Vietnam about seven months after his high school graduation. Zalewski, who as a young man fought on Iwo Jima during World War II, died four months short of retirement. Bilenski was another career soldier who had volunteered for a second tour of duty in Vietnam. What follows are the stories of these three Marines.

Kruger enlisted in the Marines before his high school graduation and started his service one week after commencement ceremonies in June 1966. By early January 1968, he was in Vietnam, as a member of E Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Regiment of the 3rd Marine Division. On May 3, 1967, his mother, Mrs. Antoinette Lineman Kruger of Second Street, received word that he had died as a result of enemy mortar fire at Houng Hoa, in Quang Tri Province. Besides his mother, the Clifton relatives he left behind included a brother, Roger, a sister, Crystal, and a grandmother, Mrs. Frieda Leimbach Lieman.


By the time Master Gunnery Sgt. William Zalewski, arrived in Vietnam in September 1966, he had already given his country more than 30 years of service. This included contributing to the 1945 victory on the island of Iwo Jima, where he was wounded and received the Purple Heart. Born on July 15, 1916, Zalewski joined the service shortly after his graduation from Clifton High School in 1933. When his tour in Vietnam approached an end in the fall of 1967, Zalewski decided to sign up for another six months. This would take him up to his scheduled date of retirement the following April.


Born on July 19, 1948, Marine PFC Robert Kruger, was among the approximately 11,000 Americans who died in Vietnam before their 20th birthday, a fact that permeates too many wars. A native of Passaic, he lived in Clifton most of his life. Kruger attended School No. 4 and Christopher Columbus Junior High School. While at Clifton High, he played on the varsity soccer team. He and his family worshiped at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Clifton.


May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


Shortly after extending his tour, Zalewski, who was attached to the First Marine Air Wing in Da Nang, earned a promotion to Master Gunnery Sergeant. This is the highest ranking for a non-commissioned officer in the Marines. On December 4, 1967, the career Marine died in Da Nang of a cerebral hemorrhage. His body was transported home and buried with honors at Arlington National Cemetery. Zalewski left behind his wife, Elizabeth, who lived in Alexandria, VA. Zalewski’s mother and one of his two sisters lived in Clifton at the time of his death.

You’re a Neighbor, Not a Number.

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JOHN BILENSKI “He was lucky then but not this time.” That’s how John V. Bilenski of Olympic St. described at the time the fate of his only son, Marine Staff Sgt. John Bilenski. An aerial gunner, Bilenski had made it through his first tour of duty in 1965-66 unhurt. He returned to Vietnam for a second tour in February 1968 and died about five months later, on July 3, when his helicopter crashed and exploded in Quang Nam. Born on July 6, 1939, Bilenski signed up with the Marines on his 17th birthday, while he was still a student at Clifton High School. Following graduation in 1956, he completed six months in the reserves and then began active duty, during which time he received training as an electronics technician. Around 1965, he married Jean O’Dell, who

Candidate Dan Brown with his wife Suzannah. The couple has lived on Cambridge Court since 2005.


A New Voice for Clifton


My name is Daniel Brown and I am running for City Council in the May 11th election. I live in the Delawanna section of Clifton with my wife, Sue. We chose to buy a home here after we were married in 2004 and we look forward to raising a family here. We have a law practice in Clifton. I have a B.S. in Information Systems from Ramapo and a law degree from Rutgers. I earned my law degree while working full-time for Merrill Lynch. If elected I will help ensure that our tax dollars were spent wisely and that Clifton remained an affordable place to live. I will do everything I can to promote a small-business friendly environment and get our city's economy moving again. I want to thank you for taking an interest in the upcoming city council election. I hope you will consider voting for me, #2A on the ballot on May 11th. Your vote WILL make a difference! Write or Call me: or 973-859-0054 Paid for by Daniel Brown for Clifton City Council, 101 Cambridge Ct, Clifton, NJ 07014


May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

Here’s what Joan has to say on the issues Joan is a lifelong resident who has worked at city hall for decades. Once elected, she will retire and be a Full Time Councilwoman.

• Toughen Ordinances on Illegal Dwellings & Enforce Harsh Fines for Lawbreakers • Enforce Existing Ordinances to Clean Up Our Neighborhoods • Conduct more periodic Job Evaluations of City Employees • Have City Deptartment Heads attend Council Meetings • Have City Liaison attend Passaic County Freeholder Meetings to hold Freeholders accountable for money spent since over 25% of Our Taxes go to Passaic County

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


Councilman for All Citizens

George #6


When it comes to public life in our community, George Silva is not some Johnny Come Lately. Since the mid-1990’s when George established his business in Historic Botany Village, he has been a leader, a team player, a volunteer and a tireless advocate. Over the last decade, George has been both an observer and a participant in our community affairs. In the 2006 City Council election, George ran but did not come in the top seven. But that loss did not stop his participation. For the past four years, George has quietly served on numerous Committees. He attended most City Council meetings. In short, George has been a student of Clifton, studying the process and understanding the problems, challenges, solutions and options of our City Council.

This year, on Tuesday, May 11, George Silva is asking that one of your seven votes be for him. George Silva on the Issues

George Silva Background and Bio • Clifton Resident for Over 25 Years • Formerly from Maple Valley Section • Currently a Dutch Hill Resident • Co-President Dutch Hill Resident Association • Past President Botany Village Merchants Association • Founder Historic Botany Village Special Improvement District (SID) • Community Liaison to Clifton Police Department • Member Botany’s Civilian Watch • Historic Botany District Liaison to North Jersey Chamber of Commerce • Member of the Action Committee for Dutch Hill • Clifton Health Department Pandemic Flu Committee

• Re-Development not Over-Development • Continuing Support of Citizens on Valley Road against Montclair State University Over-Development • Getting Problems Solved with Neighborhood Solutions • Tough on Crime: Continuing cooperation between Clifton Police and Sheriff Jerry Speziale • Gaining the Public’s Trust regarding Board of Education and City Council matters • Working Together as a Community not Neighborhood Against Neighborhood • Working With Passaic County Officials and New Jersey Assembly and Senate • Ensuring All of Clifton’s Citizens are Equally Represented

Paid for by Friends of Silva


May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

was living in Anaheim, California at the time of his death. Besides his father and wife, Bilenski’s only other survivor was his mother, Edith, who lived in Paterson.

January, 1968: The Tet Offensive

At the end of January of 1968, Communist troops launched the Tet (New Year) Offensive, attacking 36 of 44 provincial capitals and 64 of 242 district towns in South Vietnam. Even the American Embassy in Saigon underwent a siege. Americans back home watching the

“Television War” were shocked that such a major attack could be launched. Although North Vietnam suffered a military defeat in the Tet Offensive, they ended up winning a political victory because the widescale fighting convinced more Americans that a victory in Vietnam was impossible. The result was a shift in American policy toward ending the war and the resignation of an embattled president. On March 31, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson announced that: “I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your president.” During the Tet Offensive, 50,000 Communist soldiers, 14,000 South Vietnamese troops and 2,000 American soldiers were killed. Thousands of Vietnamese civilians died also. The death toll on that first day included two Clifton servicemen, PFC Louis Cancian Grove and SPF Clifford R. Jones, Jr. Both men died on January 30, 1968. There is no record that shows they knew one another. Both were born in 1947 and started their tour of duty in Vietnam within weeks of each other in the summer of 1967, the so-called Summer of Love back in the States. Grove had been married for five months before entering the service and celebrated his 20th birthday in February 1967. Jones would celebrate his 20th birthday in Vietnam in October of that year.

HATALA • Leadership • Community Service • Experience • Director of Finance, Novartis Pharmaceuticals for 20 years–responsible for $15 billion in assets • Bachelors Degree, Accounting, Seton Hall Univ. • Masters Degree, Finance, Fairleigh Dickinson Univ. • Chair, Clifton Economic Development Commission • Attracted 300 new businesses to Clifton • Helped create 2,000 new jobs for our community • Liaison, Historic Botany Village SID • Liaison, Advisory Board of Citizens for Disabilities • Advocates restructuring of the Sewer Fee • Eucharistic Minister at St. Andrew’s RC Church • Member of Clifton Moose, Clifton Elks • Past Grand Knight and Knight of the Year • 2002 Unico Man of the Year • Longtime Clifton Youth Baseball Coach

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant




Louis Grove was the son of John Grove, a retired Air Force Master Sergeant. While Louis served in Vietnam, his brother, John L. Grove, Jr., was stationed aboard an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean. “Louis was a nice guy,” recalls former neighbor Alice DeLotto, who lived a few houses away from the family when they lived on East Clifton Ave. “I remember that he had a motorcycle, which he loved driving around town.” Grove, who was born in Florida, attended Sacred Heart School in Botany Village and later graduated Pope Pius XII High School in Passaic, most likely in 1965. He worked as a truck driver before entering the service. Grove died during a mortar attack on his camp at Kontum, one of six cities hit by the Viet Cong in the Central Highlands during the first day of the Tet Offensive. His funeral service took place at Sacred Heart Church, with burial at Calvary Cemetery.

About six months into his tour of duty in Vietnam, Clifford R. Jones, Jr. was killed in action during fighting in Pleiku Province on Jan. 30, 1968. Jones spent his early years on Rutherford Blvd. in Clifton, and later moved to Warren County. He graduated in 1965 from Hackettstown High School and enlisted in the Army in January 1966. He earned the title of Green Beret that fall. Jones arrived in Vietnam on Aug. 1, 1967, serving as a radioman with Company B, 5th Special Forces Group. For his actions on the day he died, Jones received a posthumous Silver Star. According to his citation, Jones rallied his beleaguered comrades by yelling words of encouragement and charging forward “in a courageous personal assault on the insurgents.” This enabled his trapped unit to reach safety. In the 1980’s, veterans such as Joseph DeWitt and other members of VFW Post 7859 in Hackettstown succeeded in having the 1.3 mile stretch of Route 46 that runs through Independence Township renamed the Spec. 4 Class Clifford Jones Jr. Highway. Through the efforts of this post, a granite memorial also stands in the honor of Clifford R. Jones, Jr. next to the firehouse in that community.


May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

Bonded • Insured • Locally Owned & Operated Andrea Nemeth, Synergy HomeCare 897 McBride Ave., Woodland Park, NJ 07424 24 Hour Service: 973-653-2170 For Clifton’s Andrea Nemeth, helping our seniors, those suffering from debilitating illnesses and injuries, or in need of respite care, to aiding expectant or new mothers, her new home care agency is a way to help.

Do You Need a Helping Hand at Home? Inviting someone into your home to help care for the elderly or those with an illness is a tough decision. Where to turn and who to trust? Hearing of friends and family members with this problem, Andrea Nemeth wanted to help. That’s why she became an owner of Synergy HomeCare, a company that wasn’t just about short-term help. “We’re a home care company that understands the perspective of the family caregiver.” Synergy HomeCare, a non-medical home care agency — as opposed to a ‘home health care’ agency — was founded in 1999 to provide personal care, as well as compassion and companionship for the elderly, or those recovering from illness, surgery, or childbirth and the disabled. “We know that independence is important to everyone regardless of age,” said Andrea. “Sometimes the difference between your mom or dad staying at home or moving into an assisted living facility comes down to whether good people can be found to help with daily tasks like house

cleaning, errands and meal preparation. That’s the focus of Synergy HomeCare. We provide the highest quality non-medical home care services and treat people of all ages, with dignity and respect.” Andrea explained that each family is unique and she will customize care plans to fit your needs. Whether caring for an Alzheimer’s patient or elderly parents, a new mother or someone recovering from surgery, Synergy HomeCare provides compassionate, dependable caregivers to lend a hand. That could include housekeeping, running errands or providing transportation to doctor’s visits or supermarkets as well as meal preparation and medication reminders. “We are flexible in how we offer our services,” said Andrea. After years in the corporate world, Andrea said she is pleased to offer a service that directly touches the lives of those in the community in which she grew up. “I am proud to be part of a company that is in the business of providing care, comfort and compassion,” Andrea concluded. From front left: Helga and Andrew Nemeth with their son-in-law, and Andrea’s husband Vadim Shleyfman (CHS 1986), and Andrea’s sister Sonya (CHS 1992) and her husband Ken Rogers. Below, Andrea in CHS, 1988.

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


GEORGE MCCLELLAND The lieutenant was learning how to lead his troops, and his patrol included the company’s most experienced platoon sergeant, Staff Sergeant George McClelland. –USMC Captain Ken Pipes, Bravo Company The quote above is from a book by Eric Hammel, “Khe Sanh: Siege in the Clouds” (1989), an oral history of the US Marines’ defense of the Khe Sanh combat base, where 25-year-old George McClelland of Clifton was stationed. The strategic base in western Quang Tri Province, at the corner of South Vietnam, had been set up to stop the infiltration of North Vietnamese troops from Laos into the DeMilitarized Zone (DMZ). On Feb. 25, 1968, McClelland, a member of the 26th Infantry Regiment, was among two squads ordered to go out on patrol beyond the fire base to search for enemy mortar.


May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

The patrol ran into an ambush, taking on intense small arms and mortar fire. A second patrol sent to help also came under a barrage of fire. When the shooting was over, there were 47 casualties: 21 wounded and 25 missing in action. McClelland was listed as among the 25 MIAs. McClelland’s body wasn’t recovered until May 8, 1968, at which time he was officially listed as killed in action. Born in New York City on Aug. 12, 1942, McClelland joined the Marines at the age of 17, with the intention of making a career out of the military. He served as a Marine Corps drill sergeant and began his tour of duty in Vietnam in December 1967. McClelland grew up in New York and the family later moved to Passaic, then to Second St. in Clifton. His name is listed on both the Clifton and Passaic war monuments. He left behind a wife, Dee, and a son and daughter. He was also survived by two sisters and five brothers. “His daughter, Susan, is going to medical school and his son, Sean, fixes cars, which is something George liked to do,” said Raymond McClelland, one of George’s six surviving siblings, who now lives in Howell. “We grew up on the West Side of New York. I was three years older than Georgie and we used to fight

all the time, like brothers often do,” said Raymond. “George liked to fix bikes and he loved playing stickball and street hockey.” “He really wanted to be the best that he could be,” said Raymond. “I remember when he first went in, he was maybe 130 pounds soaking wet. After a while in the Marines, he was a solid 170 pounds.” After serving years as a drill instructor for raw recruits, George volunteered to go to Vietnam toward the end of 1967. “I remember George saying in a letter that they were training these kids for four or five weeks and then shipping them over, without getting the full boot camp training. He felt his place was over there with them, where he could at least try to help them some more,” says Raymond. “Before he left from camp in North Carolina, he told us he wouldn’t be coming home for a visit because he didn’t have the money to travel. Now he knew that anybody in the family would have sent him money. We always believed he didn’t return for a visit because he felt in his heart he wouldn’t be coming back from Vietnam. And it was just too hard for him to come back home and say good-bye to all of us.”

Stephen Stefaniak Main Memorial Park provided bittersweet memories for the late Mary Stefaniak. It is a place where she watched her three children spend hours frolicking, fishing and skating. It is also the place where the name of her third child, Stephen Stefaniak Jr., is engraved on the war monument. He graduated School 10 and after about a year of high school, he decided to pursue a career as a barber. He attended the Atlas Barber College in New York and afterward, worked at the US Barbershop in Paterson. “He was a very good barber. The owner of the shop used to praise him all the time,” said Mary, who still lives in Clifton. “To me, my son was a real caring person. He was a real humanitarian, always ready to help others, even at a young age. He truly had a heart of gold.” Stephen also had a passion for fishing and took pride in his VW Beetle. On Oct. 15, 1967, Stephen married Bonnie Ann

McCrohan. The couple found a home on DeMott Avenue, where Bonnie still lives. During the school year, she works as a crossing guard at Clifton and Paulison Avenue. Two months after the couple married, the Army drafted Stephen. Mary Stefaniak last saw her son in May, 1968, when he was back in Clifton on furlough. He would be in Vietnam by month’s end. “When he arrived here on his last furlough, he walked from the bus, which was a few miles away. Bonnie asked him why he didn’t call for a ride. He said that it felt too good to be walking on familiar grounds, that Clifton never looked so good.” By this time, Bonnie was about six months pregnant. This made it particularly difficult for Stephen to leave Clifton behind again, but he was determined to finish his commitment to his country, Mary said. Stephen began his tour of duty on May 28, 1968, as a member of the First Infantry, 196th Light Infantry Brigade. On July 1, after 37 days in country, PFC Stefaniak sustained extensive burns to his body while serving with a mortar drew near Chu Lai. On July 4, Stephen died in a hospital in Japan. The Army awarded him a posthumous Purple Heart and Bronze Star, citing him for “outstanding meritorious service... against a hostile force.” Stephen’s body was returned back to the United States and after a funeral mass at St. Paul Church, he was buried in Calvary Cemetery. Fifty one days after he died, on August 24, his son, Stephen Robert Stefaniak, was born. When the Vietnam War section of the memorial was dedicated in 1993, Stephen Robert carried a flag in the ceremony to help honor the father that he never had a chance to know.

JAMES JOSEPH STRANGEWAY Born in Paterson, James Joseph Strangeway Jr. joined the world on March 15, 1943, the second of four children for Genevieve and James Strangeway. The family lived on Montclair Ave. in Clifton. Strangeway, whose nickname was “Binky,” received his high school educaMay 2010 • Clifton Merchant


tion at St. Peter’s Prep School in Jersey City and later enrolled at the Paterson campus of Seton Hall University. His goal was to teach high school English. In the spring of 1967, before he graduated from Seton Hall, he served as a student teacher in the CHS English department. While attending college, he worked at the A&P on Route 46 West in Clifton. “He had a talent for so many things, ranging from mechanical to intellectual,” recalled Strangeway’s cousin, Regina Fischer. “He could frequently be found with his head under the hood of a car, trying to fix something. He devoured books by the dozen. He was never afraid to try something new, so it was no surprise when he picked up a guitar shortly after the Beatles became popular and taught himself to play.” In September 1967, Strangeway was drafted into the Army. Fischer saw her cousin for the last time in March 1968, when he was home on leave. He shipped out to Vietnam the next day. Family and friends gathered at the Strangeway home to bid the soldier farewell. “By this time, there were 500,000 American soldiers in Vietnam and the casualty lists brought the news that 500 to 700 of them died each week,” said Fischer. “Binky never let anyone get too maudlin. He made everyone laugh in his easy-going way, and the following morning, he was off with a salute and a smile.” In the months after he left, the country mourned the loss

of both Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, who were killed within two months of one another in the spring of 1968. In the later afternoon of July 10, 1968, the Strangeway family learned that their loved one was gone, too. During his time in Vietnam, Strangeway, a member of the 101st Airborne Division, achieved the rank of Corporal and earned the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

LEONARD ADRIAN BIRD Leonard Adrian Bird, who was born on Sept. 14, 1943 in Passaic General Hospital, is one of 57 New Jerseyans who are still listed as MIA in Vietnam. On July 13, 1968, while Bird was flying as the lead Radar Intercept Officer during an attack on a mortar position in Quang Tri Province, enemy ground fire hit his aircraft, causing it to go into a shallow dive. The jet exploded on impact with the ground. Leonard’s mother, Wilhelmina Bird, lives in Michigan, said the Navy just contacted

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May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

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May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


her in 2000 to let her know that they were still searching for Leonard’s remains in the area where her son’s aircraft went down. “There is not a day I don’t think of him, even though it is quite a long time ago,” she said. “He was a wonderful young man and a very loving son. He was always happy and could only see the good in all of his friends. He enlisted in the Marines and when I asked him why, he said he felt it was his duty to his country.” The Bird family lived on Madison Ave. in Clifton until Leonard was seven years old, at which time they moved to Wilmington, Delaware. In between his junior and senior years at the University of Delaware, where he was studying engineering, Bird enrolled in a 12-week Marine Corps program at Quantico, Va. This enabled him to earn a commission in the Marines after his graduation from college in 1966. Afterward, he attended aviation school, flew F-4 Phanthom jets and eventually trained as a navigator. In June, 1967, he married Patricia Kosey. Six months later, 1st Lt. Bird was in Vietnam, assigned to the Marine Fighter/Attack Squadron 115, Marine Aircraft Group 13 of the First Marine Air Wing. While there, he flew 253 missions. In some cases, he logged four flights within a 20-hour stretch. Among his decorations were the Distinguished Flying Cross, awarded for service on May 14, 1968, and a posthumous Purple Heart.



Frank Fusco

His family never knew how dangerous his missions were. Bird’s wife, Patricia, was attending a summer school class when she was called outside to speak to a Marine major. “At first, I thought it was Lenny and I laughed,” she said. “Then he told me that my husband was dead. We were so sure that he’d be back. So, so sure. We had plans. He was going to study business administration at the Wharton School.”

RICHARD CORCORAN During his first tour of duty over Vietnam, Marine Captain Richard F. Corcoran was wounded three times. The last time, shrapnel hit him and he underwent major surgery. After recuperating in Okinawa, Cocoran, who was a pilot, returned to the States for an eight-week intensive training course in aerial observation. By the fall of 1967, he was back in Vietnam. He had another month


Council Commitment... I will: • Continue to be dedicated to the full-time responsibility • Continue to be accessible to the taxpayers 24\7 • Never stop working hard to improve the daily lives of Clifton residents

Fiscal Stability... In the last four years, I have taken action which: • Improved Clifton’s cash flow and dollar surplus • Restored Clifton’s ability to bond for infrastructure improvements • Created the opportunity for new and innovative economic re-development

Community Involvement... I pledge to: • Remain an active participant in every neighborhood civic association • Remain a helping hand to every school, religious, & charitable organization • Remain an activist for the rights of every citizen of Clifton

The Next Four Years... I am committed to: • Guiding Clifton thru the worst economic times since the Great Depression • Finding credible, sensible and responsible revisions to the municipal budget, including a further review of the sewer fee • Restructuring and redefining the way we deliver city services Paid for by: Fusco2010, T. Costello, Treasurer 296 East 6th Street, Clifton, NJ 07011


May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

Sarah, Frank, Nadine & Kaitlin Frank attended School #5, WWMS, CHS ‘83, St Peter’s College, B.A. Economics and the Thomas Cooley School of Law, J.D. Frank grew up in the Albion section and currently resides with his family in Delawanna. “I am committed to Clifton’s future. Please consider making me one of your seven votes on Election Day. Thank You.”

Please visit me at:

left in his second tour when the small observation plane in which he was flying crashed on a hilltop in the vicinity of Quang Tri on June 7, 1968. Born on Aug. 21, 1938 in St. Mary’s Hospital in Passaic, Corcoran grew up on Burlington Road, in the Allwood section. By the time of his death, his parents, William and Agnes, had moved to Florida. Corcoran attended St. Thomas the Apostle School in Bloomfield and St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark. He continued his education at St. Mary’s College in Maryland and Providence College in Rhode Island, where he graduated in 1961. That year, Corcoran then entered the Marine Corps and was commissioned a second lieutenant after training at Quantico, Va. Corcoran never married. He left behind a brother, William Jr., and two sisters, Patricia and Eileen. Corcoran’s father, William, worked for Hewitt Robins Inc. in Passaic for 50 years until he retired in 1962. The elder Corcoran was among the organizers of both the Allwood Civic League and the Civic Club of Allwood.

DONALD CAMPBELL The son of Frank and Hilda Campbell, Donald B. Campbell was born in Passaic on May 31, 1936. The Campbells lived in Clifton from 1952 to 1958 before they moved to Wayne and later, to Birmingham, Alabama. After graduating high school in 1954, Donald attended Auburn University for two years and then enrolled in the Naval Air Cadet Station, located in Pensacola, Fla. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in June 1957 and began flight training the following spring. In December 1959, he was commissioned a second lieutenant. “He was qualified to fly the A4E Skyhawk, the C130 Hercules and also flew refueling missions as well as support early on in Vietnam,” said Donald’s sister, Judy Stine, who lives in Wayne. While stationed at Chu Lai during his third tour of duty in the Far East, Campbell, who now held the rank of major, embarked on a bombing mission on July 28, 1968. His plane never returned. It is unclear

whether the aircraft was hit by ground fire or failed to recover from a dive-bombing maneuver. Campbell was unable to eject and the aircraft crashed. Stine said her brother was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

A Different Kind of Casualty Dying while in service to country has many meanings. That’s why the names of seven Clifton servicemen who died in a 1961 military plane crash are engraved on the war monument in Main Memorial Park (also on page 29 of this magazine). During the Vietnam War, more than 20 percent of the 58,193 Americans who died—10,811— were classified as non-combat deaths. In 1968, accidents claimed the lives of two servicemen from Clifton.

HOWARD VAN VLIET Born in Clifton on October 4, 1928, Howard Elmer Van Vliet graduated from Clifton High School and attended the Newark College of Engineering (Now New Jersey Institute of Techonology) for two years before joining the Air Force around the time that the Korean War first erupted. During that three year “police action,” Van Vliet flew an F-84 fighter and his actions earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross. In the years between Korea and Vietnam, Van Vliet earned a degree from Florida State University and performed military duties in France and Germany. In April 1968, he started his Vietnam tour. A few weeks after he celebrated his 40th birthday on Oct. 4, Major Van Vliet and 23 other servicemen died when their C-47 transport plane crashed while en route from Saigon to Hong Kong. The cause of the crash, which occurred either on Oct. 20 or 21, was attributed to engine trouble. Van Vliet left behind a wife and three daughters. At the time of his death, his mother, Winifred, lived on Hamilton Avenue, and his sister, Mrs. Edna Budz, resided on Eighth St. May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


JOHN FRANCE Born Feb. 19, 1948 in Passaic, John D. France spent most of his life in Clifton. On many days during his growing years, he could be found enjoying the various activities that took place at the Clifton Boys Club. He attended Clifton High School but left early to enroll at Lincoln Tech in Newark, from which he graduated with honors. After receiving his draft notice from the Army, he began his military service in December 1967. He completed basic training at Fort Dix, NJ and Camp Gordon, GA and rose to the rank of sergeant. In the early summer of 1968, France returned home for a 30-day leave and spent a lot of time with his friends at the Jersey shore. He also bought a motorcyle in Clifton and had it shipped to his new post, Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. While there, France awaited the order that thousands before him had received: a one-year tour of duty in Vietnam. He spent his time at Fort Wood and was receiving training to be a military policeman. “He was thinking about becoming a state trooper after his army service ended,” said France’s mother, Harriet, who when interviewed for this story 10 years ago, still lived in Clifton with her husband, John. On Aug. 29, while driving a motorcyle through the nearby town of St. Roberts in Missouri, on his way back to his base, a car coming in the opposite direction crossed the median and collided with him head-on. France died from the impact. Ironically, the driver of the other vehicle was a soldier who had just recently returned from Vietnam. Besides his parents, France also left behind two younger sisters, Karen and Janis, who were attending Clifton schools at the time of their brother’s death.


May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

By April 1969, U.S. combat deaths in Vietnam had overtaken the 33,629 Americans who died in the Korean War. That same month, the number of American forces in Vietnam reached its highest level: 543,000. A gradual troop withdrawal began in the summer. Back home, the “Curse of the Kennedys” continued when Sen. Edward Kennedy drove his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island in Martha’s Vineyard, resulting in the death of his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne. Two days later, on July 20, Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon. In October, the New York Mets amazed the baseball world by winning the World Series, nine months after Joe Namath and the Jets achieved a similar feat by winning the Super Bowl. On Nov. 15, anti-war demonstrations reached a peak when 250,000 protesters marched in Washington D.C. The following day, the media broke the story of My Lai, which occurred the previous year. Although only one officer was eventually tried and found guilty of war crimes in connection with the incident, the unsettling news caused more Americans to question the conduct of the war in Vietnam, the images of which were broadcast daily on the evening news. In Clifton, telegrams and military personnel continued to arrive in the city to inform families of their loss, including these brief profiles of five young men who died during the last year of a tumultuous decade.

FRANK MOOREMAN During the Vietnam War, MEDEVAC, or medical evacuation, helicopters flew nearly 500,000 missions. When 20-year-old Frank David Moorman of Clifton was wounded in action on Jan. 23, 1969, he could count on being at a hospital in less than one hour. He never got that far. After taking off, the helicopter was hit by enemy fire and crashed. For more than seven years, the Army listed Moorman as missing in action. Moorman’s mother, who lived on Washington Ave. received the news that her son was missing in action on her birthday. As Mrs. Moorman awaited closure on her son, the Army, as is its custom, posthumously promoted Moorman over the years, eventually to staff sergeant. His remains were finally recovered on April 8, 1976, more than seven years after his death. A funeral service was held at Arlington National Cemetery, where Moorman was laid to rest.

It is unclear when Moorman started his tour of duty in Vietnam. Research shows that he served with Company D of the 4th Infantry Division, U.S. Army. Moorman was a parishioner at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Clifton and a number of his family members worked at Athenia Steel. Born and raised in Clifton, Moorman eventually went to live with an uncle in Glen Rock in Bergen County, which is where he graduated high school. He began his service in the military shortly afterward.

Nicholas Cerrato Nicholas Frank Cerrato lived most of his life in Paterson, where he was born on December 27, 1947. While attending Passaic Valley High School, he worked on the stage and lighting crew. He also belonged to the St. John’s Boy Scouts and worked at the Big Apple Supermarket in Wayne before he entered the service, at which time he had moved to Martha Ave. in Clifton.

Experienced • Honest • Forward Thinking • A Listener • Hard Working

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Roy Noonburg

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May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


He arrived in Vietnam in June 1968, as a Ranger with the 1st Division. Cerrato received a Purple Heart for wounds he sustained while on patrol in early 1969. Cerrato, who held the rank of Spec. 4, also received the Bronze Star. Cerrato was killed in action on May 10, 1969. After his death, Cerrato’s mother Katherine became active with the Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign War Post 7165. Cerrato’s grandparents and his brother, Frank, also lived in Clifton at the time of his death.

Robert Prete Little is known about Robert Prete or Edward Deitman because no family members could be found. But there is one thread that ties them together. They apparently began their service in Vietnam knowing that they would soon be a father. A resident of Piffard, N.Y., Robert Prete was born on Aug. 2, 1947. In the fall of 1967, he married Felicia Tencza, whose parents, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Tencza, resided on Lakeview Ave. in Clifton. At the time of his death, Prete, who held the rank of sergeant, was reported to have been in Vietnam for eight months. His obituary states that he had a seven-month-old daughter. Prete had been attached to the 101st Airborne Division. While serving in Thua Thien Province on April 3, 1969, he was killed by a mortar blast.

Edward Deitman Sixteen days after the death of Prete, Edward Deitman arrived in Vietnam. Deitman had just celebrated his 26th birthday about two weeks before his arrival. Like Prete, Deitman also served in Thua Thien province. Less than one month later—May 17—he was dead. The cause of his death is unknown. A posting on the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation Web Site from Deitman’s friend, Michael Long, revealed the most information about this Clifton serviceman: “Ed Deitman and his wife, Iris, were the closest friends of myself and my then wife Judy while Ed and I attended the NCO academy at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Ed was a gentle soul, a good friend and a loving husband who left Iris expecting their first child when he was sent to Vietnam. “He went in country a few weeks ahead of me. I received a letter from Iris notifying us of Ed’s death on the eve of my own departure, making it a more solemn moment. I remember him often for his simple love of his wife, his mother, his unborn child and his love of life. I miss him still.” 32

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

Richard Cyran Late in 1968, the Cyran family of Samuel Avenue had little time to celebrate the safe return from Vietnam of their eldest son, Air Force Sgt. John Cyran Jr. That’s because their other son, Richard Cyran, had just received his orders from the Army to go there. Richard, a 1967 graduate of CHS, began his tour in Vietnam in November. Holding the rank of Spec. 4, he served as a driver for Company B, 4th Battalion of the 23rd Infantry, 25th Infantry Division. During his time there, he received the Purple Heart for wounds suffered in action. Richard died in Tay Ninh province on June 6, 1969, the 25th anniversary of the day that thousands of Americans from the previous generation had died on the beaches of Normandy, France. Overcome by grief, Richard’s father, John Cyran, expressed his anger about the mounting casualties to a newspaper reporter at the time. To the elder Cyran, the war could not be justified. It was a feeling that continued to grow. By the time of Richard’s death, 36,000 sons had died in Vietnam. Besides his brother and parents, Richard also had three sisters, including Josephine, who still lives in Clifton.

Guy Tulp When Clifton Merchant requested information about residents who had served in Vietnam, one of the most poignant responses came from the family of Guy Tulp. Cynthia Safonte, Guy’s sister, was 11 years old and a student at School No. 2 when she learned of her brother’s death. Years later, Cynthia’s daughter, Francine, was asked by a teacher to write an essay about

her American hero. Francine chose the uncle that she never knew. Here’s an excerpt from that essay. “The reason I have chosen my uncle is because he is what America stands for. He represents America’s finest... He fought for the people’s rights and for what he believed in, and that is what makes this country so strong and powerful.” Cynthia said her daughter’s essay is a reminder that Vietnam not only affected the people who lived through those times, but also impacts future generations. “I was just my daughter’s age when my brother died as she was when she wrote this paper. And now she is the same age as Guy was when he joined the service,” said Cynthia. Born in Jersey City on Jan. 8, 1949, Tulp came to Clifton when he was about six years old. He was the oldest of four children born to Guyler and Josephine Tulp. Besides Guy and his sister Cynthia, the Tulp family, who lived on Thanksgiving Lane, included Gary and Robert. While attending CHS Tulp worked part-time at the Parkway Service Center at Van Houten Ave. and Broad St. He worshiped at St. Phillip’s Church. A few months before he was to graduate Clifton High in 1967, Tulp enlisted in the Marines with four of his friends. While in the service, he earned his high school equivalency diploma. In Dec. 1967, he became engaged to Tracie Dudinyak of Clifton. He arrived in Vietnam in July 1968. Sometime around Feb. 1969, he was wounded in action and spent three weeks recuperating at a hospital in Vietnam. On April 30, 1969, Tulp’s outfit, the Second Combined Action Group, was ambushed about 15 miles from Dang Nam. During the attack, a missile shell exploded and killed Tulp. In another 83 days, his tour of duty in Vietnam would have ended.

Donald Scott Although he never lived here, Donald Scott, spent a lot of time in the city, as he often paid visits to his grandmother, Janet Murdoch, who lived on Cottage Court. Scott, who was born on July 4, 1949, would later join the Marines, attain the rank of lance corporal and spend

five months in Vietnam, from March 1968 to his death on Aug. 2, 1968. A quarter of a century later, as the Vietnam section of the monument was being planned, Murdoch asked that the Clifton War Veterans Alliance Monument Committee honor her grandson’s memory by including his name. Recognizing that a sacrifice of this kind knows no boundaries, the monument committee agreed. Two people who knew Scott shared their memories through the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation Web Site. “My older sister was the same age as Donald and went to high school with him,” said Sharon Vanna Cuff. “Although I wasn’t a friend of Donald’s, Harrison was such a small town that I felt personally connected to him. When I heard of his death, it brought the war home to me and made it very real and very ugly. I have never forgotten Donald and I will never forget to honor him in my thoughts and prayers every day of my life.” Dave Grady, a resident of Easton, PA, served in the same outfit as Scott and was with his friend during the artillery barrage in Quang Nam that claimed Scott’s life. “Red was a good Marine and friend through some difficult times,” said Grady. “Although I knew him for only months, we shared much and I felt he was like a brother. I never recovered from his loss and will always remember him. I hope he is at peace wherever he is.”

William Sipos Born on October 4, 1941 and raised in Garfield, William George Sipos had many friends in Clifton, thanks to his years at Pope Pius XII High School, which graduated a number of Cliftonites, including Elaine Wolfer, a member of the Class of 1959. “I thought he was one of the nicest guys in the world,” said Wolfer, who retired after a long teaching career at Clifton High School. “He was very serious-minded and the kind of person who would never think of pulling a practical joke, yet he maintained a great sense of humor.” At Pope Pius, Sipos served as captain of the football, basketball and baseball teams. Under the leaderMay 2010 • Clifton Merchant


ship of Sipos, the school’s baseball and football teams won state championships. After graduating 16th in a class of 168 at Pope Pius in 1959, Sipos entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he garnered headlines as a stand-out football player, as both a quarterback and defensive back. Among the players he competed against were Roger Staubach and Mike Ditka. After graduating West Point in 1963, Sipos chose to join the Air Force. From 1964 to 1966 he served with the 3rd Air Transport Squadron. At the end of 1966, his wife gave birth to a daughter, Michele. He then began a year’s tour of duty in Vietnam, piloting the Cessna 0-1 “Bird Dog” aircraft on reconnaissance missions, which involved marking targets with smoke rockets. In March 1967, he received a promotion to captain. Sixteen days after his promotion, on April 6, 1967, his plane was shot down in Quang Nam by ground gunfire. His body was transported back home and interred at West Point. Besides his wife and daughter, Sipos left behind two younger brothers, Robert and Joseph, and his parents, who lived on Hartmann Avenue in Garfield. Sipos’s name can be found on both the Clifton and Garfield war monuments.


May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

William Malcolm Many historians point to the assassination of President Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963 as the day that we lost our innocence forever. Three days after that tragedy, Clifton native William Malcolm, the commander of the honor guard at Arlington National Cemetery, helped America bury it’s leader. In his 1967 book, The Death of a President, noted historian William Manchester described Malcolm’s role on that hisotrical day: “At the rim of the hill, Sgt. William Malcolm barked: “Ready!” A squad from the Old Guard executed a half-right face, whacked the ground with the butts of their M-1s, and came to port arms. Malcolm ordered “Aim!” The rifles came up together at a 45-degree angle. Then: “Fire!” The neat crack resounded across the copses and dells of

Arlington as it had, for this squad, in four thousand funerals before.” The following year, Malcolm performed similar service at the funeral of General Douglas MacArthur. Six years after that, Malcolm died in Vietnam. He is the last Clifton serviceman to lose his life in the Vietnam War. “Bill was regular Army and a good soldier,” said Clifton resident Melvin Hockwitt. “We were friends through high school. We hung out a lot and used to go hunting together.” When Malcolm married Nancy Binkert of Toledo, Ohio, Hockwitt served as the best man. “She was a registered nurse and I think Bill met her in Washington, D.C.,” Hockwitt said. “We all went out to Ohio for the wedding.” Born on Sept. 4, 1941, William Edward Malcolm lived on Bergen Avenue in Clifton and worshiped at St. Paul Church. He was the son of William and Mary Malcolm, who also had a daughter, Mary Elizabeth. The elder Malcolm served as a staff sergeant in the Army Engineers during World War II and Korea and later worked for the Clifton Public Works Department. Aunts and uncles included Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Stasiak and Mrs. Rose Malcolm.

After graduating Clifton High in 1960, Malcolm followed his father’s footsteps and entered the Army. After four years of duty at Arlington National Cemetery, Malcolm was transferred to Germany, where he served for about three years. He began his tour of duty in Vietnam in September 1969. Waiting at their home in Tennessee for his safe arrival were Malcolm’s wife and three children, who ranged in age from 3 to 5. Back in Clifton, Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm had put aside a bottle of champagne, which would only be opened when their son returned. Bill kept in touch with his parents, informing them of his whereabouts during his final tour of duty: “Keep the champagne cold. I’ll be home in 140 days.” On May 5, 1970, while serving as the acting field first sergeant of Company C, 502nd Battalion, 101st Airborne Division, Malcolm was killed by enemy artillery fire in Thua Thein, near the DMZ. His death occurred less than a week after U. S. and South Vietnamese troops invaded Cambodia, in an attempt to destroy Viet Cong bases. The day before Malcolm died, four students were killed at Kent State University in Ohio by National Guardsmen during an anti-war protest.

God Bless Our Veterans • God Bless America

Clifton Memorial Post 347

American Legion

Commander Domenic Chiappone • Past Commander Lou Poles

We Recall the Post Members who Died this past year... • John Basilotto • Joseph Constantine • Daniel Dandy • Anthony Hurey • Anthony Furino

• Eugene Pulsinelle • Adolph Soltis • Albin Swaluk • Christopher Sotiro May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


The body of Michael Cahill is brought to St. Monica Catholic Church in Cameron, Texas, for his funeral on Sunday Nov. 15, 2009. Michael Cahill, 62, a physician's assistant, was killed in the mass shootings at Fort Hood. Photo by Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman

This Memorial Day & Every Day of the Year...

Honor Our Veterans! God Bless America! On May 31, pause and reflect on the sacrifices and service of our Veterans.

Surrogate Bill Bate 36

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

World War One Louis Ablezer Andrew Blahut Timothy Condon John Crozier Orrie De Groot Olivo De Luca Italo De Mattia August De Rose

Seraphin Fiori Ralph Gallasso Otto Geipel Mayo Giustina Peter Horoschak Emilio Lazzerin Joseph Liechty Jacob Morf, Jr. William Morf Edwin C. Peterson

Robert H. Roat Alfred Sifferlen James R. Stone Carmelo Uricchio Angelo Varetoni Michael Vernarec Cornelius Visbeck Ignatius Wusching Bertie Zanetti Otto B. Zanetti

Jurgen Dykstra

Because the memory will live forever. Over the past year, we have had the privilege of serving the families of many veterans. In recognition of the service these veterans rendered to their country, we would like to show our appreciation this Memorial Day. In memory of their lives and their service, we recall... • James Basile • John Basilotto • Robert F. Busha • Joseph Constantine • Anthony D’Amato • Domenic J.

De Benedetto • Richard J. De Luca • George Fekete • Douglas Fischer • Anthony Furino

• Anthony Genchi Sr. • Dennis J. Gloede • John James Grace • Robert Grollimund • Frank Koslosky • Norman A. Magnoli • Stanley Joseph

• John J. Pianezza Jr. • Raymond Pickett • Vito ‘Vic’ Scangarello • Joseph P. Schafer • John Sciaino • Norman G. Smith • William R.



• James F. Mullen Jr. • Frederick Murphy • Joseph H. Paliani

• Stefan Tatarenko • Frank M. Varesano • Attilio Venturelli • Jennie K. Wood

470 Colfax Ave. (corner of Broad St.)


James J. Marrocco Manager, NJ Lic No. 3320

Army Sgt. David C. Van Dillen served for 16 months in France during World War I and returned home to Clifton safely.

Charles M. Labash Michael A. Waller Director Director W W W. M A R R O C C O S . C O M May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


World War Two Joseph Sperling Charles Peterson Thomas Donnellan Jerry Toth Frank Lennon Joseph Carboy Julius Weisfeld Edward Ladwik Israel Rabkin Peter Pagnillo Harold Weeks William Weeks Salvatore Favata Herman Adams Edward Kostecki Charles Hooyman, Jr. Salvatore Michelli Richard Novak James Potter Adam Liptak

John Van Kirk Carlyle Malmstrom Francis Gormley Charles Stanchak Joseph Ladwik Karl Germelmann Robert Stevens Albert Tau William Scott Benjamin Puzio James Van Ness Gregory Jahn Nicholas Stanchak Frank Smith, Jr Carl Bredahl Donald Yahn Joseph Belli Edwin Kalinka Stanley Swift Charles Lotz Joseph Prebol Walter Nazar

Benedict Vital Thaddeus Bukowski Leo Grossman Michael Kashey Stephen Messineo John Janek John Yanick Herbert Gibb William Nalesnik Joseph Sowma Bronislaus Pitak Harry Tamboer John Olear Johhn Koropchak Joseph Nugent Steven Gombocs Thomas Gula Raymond Curley Harry Earnshaw James Henry John Layton Charles Messineo

Founder Joseph T. Bizub who in 1923 established Bizub's Funeral Home at 205 Third St. in Passaic. For three generations, our family has proudly served our community. Tim and Toby with their dad Tom.

“As we reflect on the past & consider the future, we hope you find peace & health.”

w w w. b i z u b . c o m 38

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

1313 Van Houten Avenue Clifton, NJ 07013 Phone 973 546-2000 Timothy J. Bizub, Mgr.

515 Lexington Avenue Clifton, NJ 07011 Phone 973 777-4332 Thomas J. Bizub, Mgr.

NJ Lic. No. 4022

NJ Lic. No. 2732

Joseph Petruska Bogert Terpstra John Kotulick Peter Vroeginday Michael Sobol Donald Sang Andew Sanko George Zeim, Jr. Robert Van Liere Vernon Broseman Harold O’Keefe Edward Palffy Dennis Szabaday Lewis Cosmano Stanley Scott, Jr. Charles Hulyo, Jr. Arnold Hutton Frank Barth John Kanyo Bryce Leighty Joseph Bertneskie

Thomas Commiciotto Stephen Surgent Albert Bertneskie Charles Gash Peter Jacklin Peter Shraga,Jr. John Aspesi Micheal Ladyczka Edward Marchese Robert Stephan Roelof Holster, Jr. Alex Hossack Siber Speer Frank Klimock Salvatore Procopio Harry Breen Gordon Tomea, Jr. Douglas Gleeson Fred Hazekamp Harold Roy Andrew Servas, Jr. Francis Alesso

Samuel Bychek Louis Netto David Ward Edward Rembisz Lawrence Zanetti Alfred Jones Stephen Blondek John Bulyn Gerhard Kaden William Lawrence Robert Doherty Samuel Guglielmo Robert Parker Joseph Molson Stephen Kucha James De Biase Dominick Gianni Manuel Marcos Nicholas Palko William Slyboom Herman Teubner

In Loving Memory of our Founder

e than uch mor the m is y a lD ks Memoria eekend that mar w ay a three-d f summer. he go ecially t p s e , beginnin le p peo mbat To many usands of co a tho ich has h w , nation’s y a , this d ack all the way veterans b portant tretching history s il War, is an im iv d in the to the C f those who die ro reminde heir country. time ft take the , y service o a D l ia or those This Mem the service of t on ion and to reflec served our nat e who hav in their honor. ag raise a fl s Our Veterans! God Bles

Family k o o h S e Th

Joseph M. Shook, Sr. March 15, 1924 - June 9, 2008

Shook Funeral Home, Inc. Over 54 Years of Service, Still Proudly Family Owned & Operated

639 Van Houten Ave • Clifton

973-471-9620 Roy B. Garretson Manager, NJ Lic.#3550

Nancy Shook Garretson President, NJ Lic.#3657 May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


World War Two Walter Bobzin Vincent Lazzaro John Op’t Hof Joseph Sondey John Zier Peter Hellrigel Steve Luka Arthur Vanden Bree Harold Baker Hans Fester Patrick Conklin John Thompson Thomas Dutton, Jr. Harold Ferris, Jr. Donald Freda Joseph Guerra Edward Hornbeck William Hromniak Stephen Petrilak Wayne Wells Vincent Montalbano


May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

James Miles Louis Kloss Andrew Kacmarcik John Hallam Anthony Leanza William Sieper Sylvester Cancellieri George Worschak Frank Urrichio Andrew Marchincak Carl Anderson George Holmes Edward Stadtmauer Kermit Goss George Huemmer Alexander Yewko Emil Chaplin John Hushler Edgar Coury Robert Hubinger Wilbur Lee Vito Venezia

Joseph Russin Ernest Yedlick Charles Cannizzo Michael Barbero Joseph Palagano William Hadrys Joseph Hoffer, Jr. Joseph Piccolo John Robinson Frank Torkos Arthur Mayer Edward Jaskot George Russell Frank Groseibl Richard Van Vliet Benjamin Boyko Harry Carline Paul Domino John Fusiak Louis Ritz William Niader Alfred Aiple Mario Taverna

Sebastian De Lotto Matthew Bartnowski John Bogert Joseph Collura Matthew Daniels James Doland, Jr. Walter Dolginko Peter Konapaka Alfred Masseroni Charles Merlo Stephen Miskevich John Ptasienski Leo Schmidt Robert Teichman Louis Vuoncino Richard Vecellio Robert Hegmann Ernest Triemer John Peterson Richard Vander Laan, Jr. Stephan Kucha ‘Gigito’ Netto

Memorial Day Weekend Ceremonies Sunday, May 30 • 1 pm - Dedication of Field of Honor, Avenue of Flags • 7 pm - Volunteers decorate the area around the War Monument in Main Memorial Park with American Flag.

Monday, May 31 • 6 am - Avenue of Flags Set-up at City Hall • 8:15 am - Fire Dept. Memorial at the Brighton Rd. Firehouse • 9 am - Memorial Day Parade, Hepburn Rd. • 9:30 am - Allwood Memorial at Chelsea Park • 11 am - City Wide Memorial Day Service at Main Memorial Park, Guest Speaker NJ National Guard Colonel Jorge J. Martinez • Noon - Military Order of Purple Hearts at the Clifton Library • 12:30 pm - Post 347 Memorial at the Clifton Rec Center • 2 pm - Athenia Veterans Memorial on Huron Ave. • 6 pm - Avenue of Flags Take Down at City Hall

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


Our goal is to list each name accurately and without omission. If you feel there is an error, please write to us with the correction. See page 4 for our address. Thank you.

Korean War Donald Frost Ernest Haussler William Kuller Joseph Amato Herbert Demarest George Fornelius Edward Luisser Reynold Campbell Louis Le Ster Dennis Dyt Raymond Halendwany John Crawbuck Ernest Hagbery

William Snyder

Clifford Jones, Jr.

Allen Hiller

George McClelland

Arthur Grundman

Richard Corcoran

Donald Brannon

John Bilenski Donald Campbell

Vietnam War

William Gould Edward Flanagan

Alfred Pino Thomas Dando William Sipos Bohdan Kowal Robert Kruger, Jr. Bruce McFadyen Carrol Wilke Keith Perrelli William Zalewski Louis Grove

The Iraq War US Army/Special Forces Captain Michael Tarlavsky was killed in Najaf, Iraq on Aug. 12, 2004 and buried with honors in Arlington National Cemetery on Aug. 24. Tarlavsky, CHS Class of ‘92, was captain of the Swim Team and enlisted in the Army in 1996. He served in Iraq and Afghanistan and was awarded the Bronze Star. He is survived by his wife Tricia, their son Joseph, his parents Yury and Rimma and a sister, Elina. The Veterans Alliance engraved his name on the Main Avenue War Memorial in 2004— the first name added in 34 years.


May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

James Strangeway, Jr. Donald Scott Howard Van Vliet Frank Moorman Robert Prete Guyler Tulp Nicholas Cerrato Edward Deitman Richard Cyran Leszek Kulaczkowski William Malcolm Leonard Bird John France Stephen Stefaniak Jr.

Nov. 8, 1961 Plane Crash Robert De Vogel Vernon Griggs Robert Marositz Robert Rinaldi Raymond Shamberger Harold Skoglund Willis Van Ess, Jr.

A Year In Country

Story by Joe Hawrylko

Richard Scott opens up about at his time in Vietnam... He still remembers it clearly. The deafening roar of the helicopter as it flew over the intense firefight at the LZ below. The pilot skillfully maneuvering into position over a blast crater on the face of a pockmarked hill that was being utilized by an American mortar team. The jump into the arms of his waiting comrades on the ground. “Welcome to Hell on a Hill!” Richard Scott grabbed the outstretched hand of the soldier, preventing him from tumbling down the rocky hill. Then the slender man with thin mustache and thick Kentucky accent pulled out a dirty map, relayed the orders and Scott entered the frenzy. Suffice to say, he remembers the Summer of ‘69 a bit differently than most people. It was right at the end of Scott’s one year stint in Vietnam as a demolitions expert in the US Army 101st Airborne Divison and included two major offensives: Operation Massachusetts Strike and Operation Apache Snow. Like many servicemen at that time, Scott was drafted by the government shortly after graduating from Clifton High in 1968. “Half of the local guys, they all joined the Marines,” he said. “A bunch of us from here went to the Army. Fort Camel [in Kentucky, for basic training].” Two of the individuals to make the trip were Frank Griceo, who Scott said earned the Bronze Star for his actions at Hamburger Hill, and Richie Cyran, the first soldier from Athenia to die in Vietnam.

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


“We grew up together, and we all left Newark Airport together,” he said. Scott was in boot by November of 1968, and soon after the New Year, he was on a plane bound for Vietnam. “It was hot and it smelled bad,” he laughed. “That’s the first thing you realize when you get off the plane is—ah, this smells bad.” Scott was designated as an engineer and had the dangerous task of clearing roadways of mines. “There was really no training,” said Scott. “You were lucky if you had a couple old times to show you the ropes. All the experienced guys leave in groups.” But unlike modern day bomb sweepers in Iraq, he didn’t have the luxury of a remote control robot or thick body armor to shield him from a blast. Scott had to rely on his eyes and a small detector, forcing him to get dangerously close to the explosives. “For $99, you could buy a better one in K-Mart,” he laughed. Scott learned that uneven terrain on a dirt road was usually an indicator of a bomb. Eventually, the military began paving over frequently used roads to eliminate the threat of mines. However, boobytraps, like a grenade in a tin can with a string tied to the pin, presented a hidden threat. Death loomed ominously around every corner, be it in the jungle, in the village, or even major cities. “Every day was OJT [On the Job Training]. You learn fast and if you’re lucky, you stay alive,” recalled Scott, who remembers fellow soldier no so lucky. “There was a guy from the company down at a section of the road just north of us. He lost both of his legs.” Before he even left for the war zone, he had heard all about the perils of the jungle and the terrible atrocities going on in the country. But Scott said the stories couldn’t possibly prepare him for the experience. He came in as a wide-eyed youngster from New Jersey and left as a battle hardened Vietnam veteran.

“You get used to it. After a couple months, when you’ve been in the field a few times,” said Scott. “Definitely after the first fire fight. It was what it was. You got better at it. You get a little more relaxed. Occasionally, there was sniper fire here and there. You saw a little of everything.” But outside of any kind of necessary interaction, new soldiers were largely on their own the first few weeks. The grizzled vets remain aloof—inexperience in the jungle can lead to a swift death. “You don’t stay too close to cherries, because cherries get you killed,” said Scott. “The first time I went out on recon, the guys didn’t talk to me for three days.” He said that soldiers eventually relent and start opening up to new guys if they manage to survive for a few weeks in country. They are assimilated into the group, each member looking to just do his job, keep his head low and eventually return home. “You get a date and you know that date. When it got close to it, you get down to the hours and minutes,” said Scott. “The first few months, you’re like how long have you been in country. The last two months, you’re counting down the time.” When his duty came to an end in 1970, Scott returned home to a country in turmoil. Though he had seen the media reports and protests before he left, Scott was hardly prepared for the reception he would receive. “When we came home, everyone treated us like [poorly]” he said. “You don’t realize how bad it was until you got back. The media was a bigger enemy to us than the real enemy.” However, during Scott’s stint in Vietnam, encounters with journalists were rare. “We didn’t see much of that [war reporters],” he said. “We were really out in the jungle. I didn’t see a flushing toilet for a year. We ate rations from the Korean War.”


Any Menu Item*

excludes Kiddie Cups & Cones, Quarts, Cakes & Pies Expires 12/31/10. Limit one coupon/person. Not valid with any other offer or promotion. Clifton store only.


May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


Any Cake or Deep Dish Pie

Expires 12/31/10. Limit one coupon/person. Not valid with any other offer or promotion. Clifton store only.

9th Annual Fundraiser Clifton-Passaic Chapter


Bliss Venue & Lounge, 955 Allwood Rd., Clifton 973-773-2110 •

Friday June 4 6 pm-3 am 18 to Enter, 21 to Drink

UNICO is Service Above Self Total Net Door & Bar Proceeds to Benefit • Unico Italian American Scholarship Fund • Clifton Junior Mustang Football • Clifton HS Project Graduation • Clifton Stallions Soccer

Advance Tickets $10


$12 at the Door. To purchase, contact: Bliss Lounge 955 Allwood Rd., Clifton Wed-Sat, 8-11 pm, 973-773-2110 Dan Pugliese, Brookwood 973-919-8495 Joe Gaccione, Clifton Jr. Mustang Football 973-777-7330 Bobby Cardillo, Clifton Stallions Sebastian of Blisserine 973-493-0101 or


8:30pm 10:30pm

Cash Bar

plus DJ Lugghead & Capt Weej & o ther Guests!

5 for $15 Coors Light Buckets $1.50 Hot Dogs plus menu avaiable by Buco’s May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


But that didn’t stop anyone from lumping him in with those responsible for war crimes. “Everywhere you go, people—even friends of yours who went to college—had their opinions of the war,” Scott continued. “I would tell them we’re not crazy, we’re not all baby killers.” The stigma of the war followed him when he tried to assimilate back into civilian life. Scott recalled how he was encouraged to not report that he had served in the war on a job application by an interviewer. “He said nobody wants combat vets from Vietnam,” he recalled. “You’re all crazy.” “It wasn’t like World War I or World War II—those guys are all heroes,” Scott continued. “It still pisses me off. And we still get treated that way from the VA [Veteran Affairs]. I know guys who have been fighting for benefits for 40 years.” He added that New Jersey has more veterans eligible for benefits that almost any other state, yet most aren’t collecting. Scott said that veterans organizations, like the Athenia Vets post which he is a member of, serve a vital function in the community. In addition to promoting veteran rights, such groups create awareness in the community. “These programs are good and they need support and members to stay alive,” said Scott. “I’d like to see more young guys join, but I know how they feel.”

For years, he didn’t talk much about his war experiences. Unlike those who served in WWII, who generally are more open about their service history, Scott said many Vietnam vets are hesitant to join veteran organizations or talk about their experiences because of what they saw and the stigma that is still attached to the war. Scott himself waited some 35 years to get involved in the Athenia Veterans Post. He began hanging out at the Huron Ave. building a few years ago after befriending some of the regulars, but never decided to become an official member. Then, when sitting at the bar one day, he overheard some older members lamenting how they could not find a Vietnam veteran to place a wreath for a Memorial Day observation. Scott knew he had to step up and do it for his brothers who are no longer here. Since then, he’s become a regular at the Post, whether it’s enjoying a drink or visiting friends at events. His involvement in the hellish Vietnam War drew Scott to the Post. But his desire to preserve the memory of his friend, Richie Cyran—and all the others who perished in that war—is what keeps him a member. The Athenia Veterans Memorial Day services are on May 31 at 2 pm, with a brunch to follow. The bar will be open. The Post also hosts a Mother’s Day brunch on May 9, from 11:30 am to 3:30 pm. Tickets are $14 in advance and $16 at the door. Call 973-778-0931.

I’ve lived in Dutch Hill for 10 years and as my wife Christine and I look to the future, we see challenges, strengths and opportunities in all of our diverse neighborhoods—and that’s why I have chosen to run for City Council. Despite the tough times we face, I believe I will be a positive leader for our future.

My Goals for Making Clifton a Better Place to Live... 1. Stabilize Taxes & Seek More Grants 2. Maintain & Expand Senior Citizen & Recreational Programs 3. Address Quality of Life Issues with Stronger Enforcement 4. Preserve Services such as EMS, Fire, Police & DPW 5. Move the City Forward through Citizen Participation I have served as a Passaic Police Officer for 20 years where I have been the grant writer and today serve as the spokesperson for the Department. At the age of 43, I have a long record of community service and would like to bring that experience to our hometown. If you or your group would like to meet or paid for by the Andrew A. White Campaign Committee talk, write to

Honesty •Integrity • Taxpayers First for a Better Clifton •Vote #12 46

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

Dave with his daughter Talia, a 3rd grader at St. Andrew’s RC School

The Future is Now! If elected, my goals include... Review/analyze the productivity of all municipal departments to ensure greater accountability and more productivity throughout our government. Explore consolidation of services with other municipalities/boards while working with Passaic County officials to increase services we receive. With City & County Economic Development, work to attract businesses to appropriate areas & encourage ‘smart’ new development. Ensure Clifton Recreation facilities are utilized by city residents only, where Federal law allows. Review the process for making appointments to municipal boards and commissions to attract, select and retain the best qualified candidates. Implement a line item budget review to identify areas of opportunity for savings or concern. Ensure that department heads are held accountable for the application of Private, State and Federal grants.


On May 11th, please consider me as one of your 7 Council votes, so that I can utilize my knowledge, skill and leadership abilities to help guide Clifton through these challenging economic times. Sincerely, Dave D’Arco

Above, Dave with Campaign Committee, bottom left Dave’s immediate family and right, Congressman Pascrell with Dave

paid for by David D’Arco Campaign Committee, Melissa D’Arco Treasurer

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


Ranks of Veterans Groups Thinning Across the nation, the ranks of veterans posts are shrinking. Those who served in World War II make up a majority of the rosters and that generation is, on average, about 88 years old. Vets who served in Vietnam to present days war are less interested in joining. Michael Rembish, a member of the Athenia Veterans Post on Huron Ave., is taking steps to increase the ranks. “[The Athenia Veterans] have about 200 members. It was 250 a few years ago,” said Rembish, President of the Friends of the Athenia Veterans. “In the 50s and 60s, we supposedly had around 1,400 members.” The FAV was formed in 2005 to support the Athenia Vets in organizing and setting up events, generate awareness about the Post and to allow those who had not served in the military to join, much like the Ladies’ Auxiliary. “You have to have good character, be over 21 and you have to help out on functions,” said Rembish. The FAV started with six members and has now grown to 27. Rembish explained that the group first started out by primarily helping set up for events, whether it was stringing lights for a holiday event or placing crosses and Jewish stars on the front lawn for Memorial Day services. “We purposely overstock our staff so that one person isn’t stuck with all the chores,” said Rembish.


May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

In addition to the Post events, the group holds its own functions. Rembish explained that most of the AVP’s members are from prior to the Vietnam War, and don’t share many interests with younger veterans. The FAV hosts younger rock bands and other events at the Post to keep it active. But although younger members and FAV have different tastes and interests, the end goal is the same: Support our America’s Veterans. “Our motto is: In addition to, not instead of,” said Rembish. For more info or to join the FAV, call 862-571-0496. Other Veteran groups in Clifton: • American Legion Quentin Roosevelt Post 8, 16 West First St., 973-253-9933 • VFW Post 7165, 491 Valley Rd., 973-523-9762 • Disabled American Vets/Military Order of Purple Heart 315 Hazel St., 973-772-9708 • VFW Post 6487, 913 Bloomfield Ave., 973-519-0858 • American Legion Post 347, 1232 Main Ave., 973-546-9876 • Jewish War Veterans, c/o Scoles Ave. YM/YWHA Jewish Center

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


Memories Never Die Friends, family recall service history of Clifton Veterans

Story by Joe Hawrylko

Victor Olizarowicz isn’t from Clifton, but over 65 years later, he remembers several other veterans that were. Olizarowicz, who now lives in Holyoke, Massachusetts, was drafted and sent to Camp Dix on Dec. 19, 1942. He received his basic and advanced training at Camp Carson, Colorado. “That’s where I met Charlie Messineo,” recalled Olizarowicz. The two were assigned to the 49th Engineer Combat Battalion C Company, 2nd platoon. There were some other Clifton guys in that group as well: Platoon leader S. Sergeant William Pavlick, Buck Corporal Joseph Mendyke, PFC Charles Messino and truck driver Nicholas Fierreo. 1st Platoon was led by another Cliftonite in Joseph R. Sondey.


May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

In their skivvie: Charles Messino, Victor Olizarowicz, Richard Curran, Bob Walters.

The 49th participated in the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. “We landed at 0630 am, ‘H’ Hour,” explained Olizarowicz.

“We were the first wave. We landed at Utah Beach, Uncle Red Sector. We were attached to the 4th Infantry Division....We had a

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few casualties, nothing serious. Charlie Messineo had a piece of shrapnel in his nose.” Olizarowicz and the Clifton boys escaped D-Day relatively unharmed. Then on June 11, just past midnight, C Company moved into position for an attack and was awaiting orders.“We were sitting, waiting to flank when a German plane flies by without shooting at us,” recalled Olizarowicz. “A US guy in a truck starts shooting at it and it draws the plane in.” The pilot strafed the American position and released his bombs. At least one was a direct hit on the truck, and in that vehicle was Charles Messineo, who perished. “Charlie was a very good buddy of mine,” lamented Olizarowicz. C Company continued to make its way across Europe and towards the advanced Allies lines. In late December of 1944, Olizarowicz found himself at the Battle of the Bulge. C Company was tasked with slowing the German advance, and engineers laid mines and demolished roadways and bridges. Eventually, the Nazis were forced back and Olizarowicz had to go and remove the mines, which were now frozen into the ground. “We had to loosen up the frozen ground to pick up the mines,” said Olizarowicz. “It was bitter cold and


May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

someone got a little too careless and hit a mine. That’s when we lost four or five men from the 1st platoon. Joseph Sondey was one of the men killed.” According to our records at the Merchant, Sondey, then 28, was killed on Jan. 3, 1945. He had already been overseas for 18 months and had been wounded in the Fall of 1944 while fighting in France.

Bronislaus Pitak Joe Pitak remembers his uncle, Bronislaus C. Pitak, who was killed in action over the skies of England on April 9, 1944. “I knew my father had brothers,” said Joe, who provided a copy of a story from a local newspaper which details his uncle’s passing while in combat. “I’m the nephew he never met. But I’m not forgetting about him. Please tell his story.” Pitak was an aerial gunner and assistant radio operator on a B-17 Flying Fortress and was hailed in the media as a hero for his participation in an American bombing raid on Romania’s Ploesti oil fields. Pitak entered the service on Aug. 1, 1942 and was assigned to the Army Air Force. He relieved his training in Miami and then attended radio school in Sioux Falls, SD. Gunnery school in Ft. Meyers, FL was the last stop for Pitak before being shipped to England.

There, he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for his participation in the Ploesti oil field raid on Aug. 1, 1943. Pitak also received the Air Medal, and his squadron was received citation from Brigadier General Stahm for braving enemy fighters and anti-air weaponry. At times, the Flying Fortress was so low to the ground that that it was in danger from the exploding targets below. Having completed his regular missions, he signed up for an extra run. Pitak’s fortress was in routine flying formation, when a stray plane emerged from the clouds and collided with friendlies. Pitak was one of seven killed from his ten member crew on April 9. Today, some 66 years later, the legacy of Bronislaus C. Pitak is now part of Clifton history.

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


Thanks to your support, we are on our bicycles and cycling 300 miles to Washington, D.C. to create awareness of police officers who have died in the line of duty and to raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

For more on the tour, visit For more on the Clifton PBA: 54

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


Emil Sova Rudy Hudak remembers his friend, Emil Sova, a P-47 pilot who was shot down during the Invasion of Normandy. Sova and his squadron were providing cover for the flying fortresses. His orders were to bomb the targets at the beach line, and then swing back around and strafe anything that moves. However, one of the bombs he released detonated early, damaging his aircraft. Sova pulled up high, way above the clouds to give himself time to bail, but eventually regained control. When he descended, he couldn’t find anyone from his squadron. One of his wingmen erroneously reported that Sova went down after seeing the explosion. Still, the Cliftonite went ahead and followed orders. He swung back behind the line and searched for targets, eventually finding a train. He strafed it, but on the second pass, was hit with return fire and shot down. Sova parachuted and landed in a tree. He was slightly injured from the fall, but climbed down and eventually was picked up by a German patrol. The Nazis realized he was a pilot and accused him of being a Chicago gangster—German propaganda portrayed American pilots as being ruthless killers from the mob. Sova


May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

was about to be shot on site, until a German officer stepped in, saying the American would be treated fairly as a prisoner of war, just like he was in World War I. Sova was driven several hours away to a holding cell. He was interrogated, and revealed no information. Over the course of two weeks, Sova was transferred to several facilities, where German officers failed to gain any sensitive information from the American. Eventually, he was transported to the infamous POW processing station, Dulag Luft. Sova was interrogated several times over the next two weeks before being transported to Sagan Stalag Luft III. Sova described the long ride in a prisoner train car as miserable. There were 75 prisoners and two guards in a space that could barely hold half that. The soldiers worked out a rotation where prisoners would spend four hours on the floor, four on the benches, four in the luggage rack and then four standing up. “Clumsy prowlers stepped on everything but the floor,” wrote Sova. “Some fell out of racks. Others relieved themselves on the floor of the car rather than risk stepping on men and waking everyone when the person stepped on screamed in pain.”

He estimated that the train arrived in Sagan around July 7. The camp barracks were poorly constructed, the thin walls allowing the bitter cold nip at the POWs as they slept on uncomfortable straw mattresses. “Our every thoughts were on food, our loved ones and the possibility of our escape or liberation,” said Sova. The Germans kept a watchful eye on their prisoners. Searches were conducted at random for radios, tunnels and the like. The Nazis would put holes in food cans so its contents would spoil, but the POWs used margarine to seal it. The POWs were fed just barely enough to keep them from starving. Sova recalled cutting bread and seeing saw dust trickle out. When soup was served, it often contained worms. German guards—known as ferrets to the POWs—patrolled shallow trenches below the barracks to listen in on conversations. Sova recalled pouring buckets of water on the floor and onto the heads of the Nazis as a countermeasure. The chances of a successful escape were slim, but POWs tried several times. Sova recalled 1944 The Great Escape, which was undertaken by a different group of prisoners in the North Compound. Some two hundred Allies planned to

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


leave through a tunnel they had labored over for months. But after 81 got through, guards spotted the prisoners. Fifty were killed on the spot, and only three made it back to their units. With the Russians closing in, the Nazis forced the prisoners onto a death march through the bitter winter. On Jan. 28, 1945, troops led the Allies through the woods, hiking some 18 hours a day with the Russians just 30 miles behind. Men would fall asleep on their feet and drop off into the snow drifts. Frostbite set in. Sova was known to the Germans as a ‘commando’, since he was patrolling the line and rounding up any stragglers who were unfit to walk and placing them on a transport. Eventually, the marchers reached Nuremberg on Feb. 4. But on April 4, the Nazis decided to move the prisoners again, this time to Moosburg in Bavaria. It was here that Sova was eventually liberated by General Patton on April 29, 1945.


May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

Fred G. DeVido Lou Poles remembers his father, Army Air Force Captain Fred G. DeVido, who served during World War II from 1942 to 1945. DeVido trained in Miami, Florida with the movie star Clark Gable. First in his high school class, DeVido was stationed in General George Patton’s office, where he worked on secret codes and missions in North Africa. He later found himself in England for D-Day with the 8th Army Air Force. DeVido was stationed in Paris when the Allies defeated Nazi Germany. With the European Theatre wrapped up, DeVido was shipped to the US West Coast to prepare for Operation Downfall. However, the two atomic bombs and Japan’s subsequent surrender spared DeVido from having to attack the heavily defended island. DeVido then returned home to Clifton, where he went on to a political career. He was elected to City Council in 1946, and served as

Mayor from 1950 to 1954. For many years, DeVido worked as a lawyer and practiced real estate for Steve Dudiak, Clifton’s famous builder and civic leader. Poles himself is also a veteran, having served in the Army from 1955 to 1956. The Clifton sports historian was stationed in Alaska, where he manned the Distant Early Warning radar—the first line of defense against a Russian sneak attack through Alaska.

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Meet some of our Physicians...

Charles Crowley, MD

Dr. Daniel Rice, MD

Dr. Eugene Batelli, DPM

Dr. Thomas Graziano, DPM, MD




Podiatry May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


One of Clifton’s Greatest Dutch Hoogstraten in Vietnam It was a reminder of the danger that was all around him. Except Dutch Hoogstraten didn’t see it that way. He thought it was damn funny. Dutch had stopped off that morning October 7, 1967, at a Vietnamese restaurant with his boss, Lt. Colonel Bob Sanders, and a South Vietnamese commander and his deputy. The four men wanted breakfast before leading their battalions on a search and destroy mission. They sat around a table, eating their soupy meal, picking the meat out with chopsticks. Dutch’s machine gun rested on the dirt floor leaning against the table, his hat hanging over the muzzle. As they ate, Dutch’s hat began to dance and wobble. A rat had silently crawled up the machine gun and under the hat’s brim and was now gnawing at it. Dutch slammed the rat to the floor with the back of his hand, never letting go of the chopsticks threaded between his fingers. The four men laughed like hell. They enjoyed moments like these. It might be the last laugh they’d have before a bullet ended their lives. Later that day, Dutch Hoogstraten would be closer to that bullet than ever before. The rat was an omen— death could sneak up on you in Vietnam. And, if you went looking for it like Dutch would do that day, it almost never missed.

Story by Jack De Vries

Fateful Morning

Our November 2001 cover, featuring Dutch Hoogstraten.

By 8 am, two battalions of 1,600 South Vietnamese soldiers had fanned out across the Tan Ba jungle, west of the Bien Hoa Air Base. Captain Hoogstraten was one of four United States officers helping lead the mission. The air was hot and humid, and Dutch and his men

trudged through knee-high underbrush, looking to engage the enemy. That wouldn’t be a problem. In preparation for the upcoming Tet Offensive, a wave of Vietcong and North Vietnamese Army troops had secretly deployed and waited in the jungle.


May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


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By 8:30 am, all hell broke loose as the enemy opened fire. To his left, Hoogstraten could hear shots fired and saw smoke wafting up, a signal some of his troops were in trouble. He moved toward the fighting as the battalion took up a safer position behind him. When Hoogstraten got about a quarter-mile from the smoke, he learned an entire company of soldiers was pinned down by the enemy. Two or three were wounded, lying out in the open under intense fire. Dutch didn’t hesitate. Along with two other American soldiers, he raced to retrieve the fallen men and bring them to safety. “First you hear the bullet fly past you,” he described. “Then you hear the bang. When you can hear the bullet whiz past your head, you know it’s close.” The men ran through the brush, diving to the jungle floor several times to avoid enemy fire. Behind them, the South Vietnamese troops shot cover fire over their heads, hoping to give Dutch and his men enough time to reach the wounded. “You really don’t think about fear at a time like that,” Hoogstraten described. “It all boils down to training. You also care for your comrades who have been wounded. But it’s the training that gives you the focus, brings you to that point where you do what needs to be done.” When Dutch reached the men, his shirt was soaked through with perspiration. The men he had come to rescue were covered in blood—unconscious but alive. “I didn’t know if they were fatally wounded or not,” he recalled. “I didn’t think of that. I only cared about getting them out of there.” Lifting the wounded onto their backs, Dutch and the other rescuers began crawling through the brush, again through the enemy fire. More bullets whizzed past, cutting into the brush around them. Incredibly, they made it back to their line, hoping to evacuate the injured by helicopter. But the enemy would not quit. Hoogstraten determined it was not safe to land the “dust off” helicopter. Again braving the assault, he and another soldier began searching for a second landing area. They found one at the top of a hill, about 150 yards from their location. After contacting the helicopter, Dutch raced back to help carry the wounded back up the hill to the new evacuation spot. With the men safely aboard, he returned to his position as the South Vietnamese battalions surrounded the enemy forces. “We captured a number of them,” he said. “And we captured some weapons. Later, we learned this

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


was the initial infiltration for the January Tet Offensive. We blocked that, at least for the time being.” The men Hoogstraten helped to save recovered from their wounds and returned to their units. “That night, we went down to the officer’s club,” Dutch remembered. “I had so much adrenaline in my system that, I don’t know how many scotches I had, but I was sober.” Hoogstraten’s heroism did not go unnoticed. “It was through Captain Hoogstraten’s continuous encouragement and his constant display of

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courage,” wrote Captain Edward J. Johnson, “that all of the wounded and dead were evacuated from the field of battle. His conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty was directly responsible for the saving of two Vietnamese allies.” For his actions, Richard B. Hoogstraten, son of Dutch immigrants and former quarterback for Clifton High School, was awarded the prestigious Silver Star. General William C. Westmoreland, commander of the U.S. Military assis-

tance Command in Vietnam, presented the medal. “A sportswriter,” Hoogstraten remembered in his 2001 interview with Jack DeVries, “wrote ‘that maybe as he was running through this fire, it reminded him of the time that he was running on the gridiron.’ That kind of struck a bell. The training and discipline you derive from sports and teamwork gets carried over for teamwork in the military.” Naturally, the Cliftonite trained under one of the best coaches in the country: The legendary Joe Grecco. Hoogstraten remembers the day well—the first time he ever set foot inside Clifton School Stadium. As he entered, he saw Coach Grecco walking toward him, his eyes dark, his face serious. The man who had built the Mustangs into a football powerhouse after years of losing looked down at Dutch and his friends and said, “Good morning, men.” “That was the first time I was called a man in my life,” Hoogstraten said. “Here I was, 13 years old, and this big gap tooth guy was calling me a man.” For his first two seasons, he was a backup before quarterbacking the 1952 and 1953 teams to a shared Section I Group IV State Championship. Hoogstraten then took a scholarship to Lehigh University, where he starred in baseball. He also enrolled in the ROTC program, which was the start of a length military career that concluded in 1984. Hoogstraten was discharged as a colonel. He then went on to work with Newport News Shipbuilding until October 2000, managing a training program for submarines and aircraft carriers. Dutch Hoogstraten passed away in 2005.

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant



May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Voter’s Guide

19 Candidates

by Joe Hawrylko


ver the past three months, we have published a total of 15 City Council candidate profiles. However, at the polls on May 11, you’ll see 19 names. That’s because Mary Sadrakula, Frank Gaccione, Ray Grabowski and Matt Grabowski declined to interview with us. On the following pages, you’ll find photos of those candidates who did meet with us as well as a synopsis of each of their profiles. Jim Anzaldi Incumbent first elected 1978; seeks eighth term

Mayor Jim Anzaldi is making yet another run at a City Council seat. He believes that his more than 30 years of experience will be a benefit to the Council. In 2009, Anzaldi was named President of the New Jersey League of Municipalities. Though his term ends this summer, he feels the experience will grant Clifton more presence on the state level. He hopes to tackle the latest round of mandates from the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH), which requires municipalities to make low rent housing units available to certain individuals or risk lawsuit from

developers. The Mayor said he is also concerned with binding arbitration, pensions and healthcare costs. The Mayor said that his past term was one of his most difficult in his lengthy career. Like most, Anzaldi expressed concern over the impact the economy will have on the budget. He said the layoff of 80 municipal workers in 2009 was protecting the taxpayer, and the Mayor said he is willing to take such measures again, if necessary. Anzaldi talked about his experience, and said that the seasoned current Council works well together and rarely has outbursts. That has allowed the elected body to address quality of life issues. Anzaldi said the Council has tackled illegal housing. He added that the preservation of Schultheis Farm and the groundbreaking of Athenia Steel Park shows the Council is serious about preserving open space.

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


Dan Brown Challenger As a newcomer, Dan Brown is looking forward to working with established Council members and injecting new thoughts into the political process. Brown would like to address health care contributions and pensions in upcoming labor negotiations. He believes that Governor Chris Christie may bring about positive changes in union negotiations that may allow municipalities more leverage. He cited taxes and quality of life as his two main concerns. Brown said that the Council needs to stress the importance of business, especially that of larger corporations and franchises. It is the role of elected officials to be ‘cheerleaders’ for important causes. Brown explained that he is a proponent of undertaking a study to examine the different types of government available. He would also consider moving the Council elections to November to save money. The candidate said that his hard work, dedication and community involvement should be important to


May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

voters. Brown, currently unemployed, graduated from Rutgers University School of Law in 2001 and represents indigent clients in appeals on behalf of the NJ Office of the Public Defender with his wife, Suzannah. He has previously worked as an Assistant Prosecutor for Essex County. He tutors students at the Clifton Public Library, is a member of the Regional Chamber of Commerce and is active in St. Brendan’s Church. Joe Chidiac Challenger; ran in 2006 Joe Chidiac embarks on his second bid for City Council, and believes voters will recognize that he’s an independent candidate with the highest level of integrity. He said that he is a regular citizen—not a politician— and does not accept donations. Chidiac said that the current Council has done an admirable job, given the economic circumstances. However, he believes it’s time for new ideas and concepts on the Council. Chidiac said he plans to stay in Clifton, but said it may be impossible if the quality of

life isn’t improved and taxes raises aren’t halted. One of the first steps is reviewing city contracts to see where waste is. Chidiac said that many services that the city contracts out could be handled by the DPW. He added that snow removal can be improved with smaller Chevy S10 pickup trucks. Chidiac also would like to improve recycling pick up by adding drop-off locations across town. The candidate also expressed his desire to be tough in negotiations, and said he talked about dual fire and police patrols. Chidiac also would like to repeal the NAACP agreement that allows for non-resident hires in the fire department. The candidate said that Council members need to go beyond the normal job requirements for an elected official. Chidiac believes that the Council should encourage businesses to go the extra mile to generate revenue and taxes. He also would like the Council members to use their influence in Zoning and Planning Board issues to facilitate quick, one-meeting responses. Chidiac would also like to explore changing government. He is in favor of term limits, but is skeptical of changing to a November election due to political influence. The candidate said he is also in favor of Clifton’s current City Manager-Council form of government.

Dave D’Arco Challenger Dave D’Arco believes there’s a lack of leadership and accountability on the Council. He feels he could bring both of those qualities if elected. The candidate said that Clifton has undergone a change, with families moving out because they are unable to afford to live in town due to high taxes. D’Arco said this is due to wasteful spending and a lack of accountability by Council members and City Manager Al Greco. The candidate said he’s not advocating a change in government, but just more oversight from all parties involved. D’Arco, a Paterson police officer for 11 years, said city services have deteriorated because issues are not promptly addressed by the Council and Greco. He added that he would like to see more police presence, provided that the Council can find funds or grants to finance new hires. Though he has no political experience, D’Arco referenced his community service. The candidate was president of the local chapter of the Italian-American service organization, UNICO, from 2005 to 2009.

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


Peter Eagler Incumbent Peter Eagler seeks his second consecutive term after a four year hiatus from the City Council. During his Council bid in 2006, Eagler lamented the squabbling between members, something he said has been rectified during his tenure. The incumbent listed quality of life as one of his top priorities. Eagler is particularly concerned with the DPW. He said that the Council alleviated problems with leaf removal by forcing residents to use bags, but said more must be done to improve services and cut waste. Eagler said that the quality of life could possibly be improved by changing Clifton’s government. He added that he would support a study to explore the possible options, and favors the direct election of the mayor. The incumbent also hinted at his desire for an appointed Board of Ed, but said he doubts residents would approve. Eagler, who left his Council position in 2002 and went on to become a state assemblyman and Passaic County Freeholder, said he wouldn’t rule out a similar


May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

run in the future. Eagler said he would also like to reverse an agreement with the NAACP that requires Clifton to consider hiring employees from outside of the city limits. Frank Fusco Incumbent Frank Fusco said he’s satisfied with his first term on the Council and thinks he’s done a good enough job to be elected by voters this May. The incumbent said his main accomplishment has ensuring fiscal responsibility on the Council Fusco said he is spearheading restructuring efforts sweeping through City Hall. The Councilman said he and his peers were able to mitigate the affects of the recession and state funding cuts through smart budgeting. Fusco also said he would be against moving the Council elections to November—especially during his current term—as he feels it would cost challengers more money and increase partisan participation in the race. He also stated his desire to see campaign spending kept under $25,000 by candidates. Fusco said he has accomplished most of his

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May 2010 • Clifton Merchant



May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

2006 campaign pledges, including focusing on redevelopment along Main Ave. and in Botany Village. Fusco would still like to hire an urban planner, and said talks are in the works for an NJ Transit platform in Delawanna. The Councilman said his plans and goals are realistic, and residents know he is qualified and capable of working with his peers on the elected body. Frank Gaccione Challenger; previously served on Council 2002-2006

No Response

For the second election in a row, Gaccione chose to not interview with this publication.

Anthony Genchi Challenger; ran in 1998 A ten year veteran of the Planning Board, Anthony Genchi said it’s time to run for Council to have a greater impact on Clifton. The candidate explained that the city has always been about families, but recent tax hikes and a decline in services is driving those families out of Clifton. Genchi said his main priority is to stabilize the budget and generate creative revenue streams, but declined to discuss those plans in detail until he is elected, so he can speak with city attorneys and not mislead the public. The candidate lamented the Council’s inability to bring swift resolution to resident concerns that are voiced at City Council meetings. He also criticized the elected body for implementing the sewer tax. Genchi said that the controversial fee was because of the recession. However, he added that the Council should have seen the signs and steered Clifton away from layoffs and other financial repercussions. Genchi noted that he would vote for layoffs if no other options were available. The candidate is in favor of department restructuring, but declined to identify areas where money could be saved. Genchi added that he would like to see the new DPW supervisor work in the field with his employees. He also addressed illegal housing, calling

for weekend and evening inspections. The candidate said he is in favor of moving elections to November to save money, but added that he would not like to change the form of government. Matt Grabowski Challenger Grabowski insisted on being interviewed with his brother Ray Grabowski, despite our policy of interviewing candidates as individuals. “A lot of No Response the old timers can’t grasp that we’re running together,” he said a month ago. “It’s not easy for two brothers to run together. Me, my brother, my campaign manager and ten other people agreed that we would only do it this way. Why can’t there be an exception?” Ray Grabowski Challenger Ray Grabowski declined interview requests due to our policy that candidates must be interviewed as individuals.

No Response

Steve Hatala Incumbent first elected in 1998 seeks fourth term; also served seven years on Board of Education Steve Hatala believes that voters will look at this past term and recognize his ability to make tough, but fiscally prudent decisions. He said that he has demonstrated the ability to vote in the best interests of the city, even if it goes against popular opinion. The incumbent specifically cited the sewer tax as move necessitated by a budget shortfall and the Council’s obligation in keeping city services. As an established Councilman, Hatala said he has a unique understanding of the budget and what it takes to run the city. He is in favor of the Council’s City Hall restructuring plan. Hatala would like to use May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


the recession as a means to change the way business is run at City Hall. That means analyzing everything to make it more efficient, from personnel job titles to upgrading the city’s record keeping system. Action is already taking place, with the hiring of quality of life officers. The individuals will patrol the city and write citations, freeing up valuable manpower in the Police Department. Hatala estimated that cops spent between 15 to 17 percent of their shifts doing non-police work. Still, he said there is more work to be done, and looks forward to improving quality of life in his next term. Joe Kolodziej Challenger; former Board of Ed commissioner 1999-2006; BOE Pres 2003-2006

land in shopping districts to create metered lots. Money raised can be put towards investments in recreation, roadways and aging infrastructure that is directly related to quality of life. The candidate said the Council can possibly save money by utilizing the Board of Ed’s payroll system instead of a private company. Kolodziej said he would like to cut expenses, but not to such a degree that it is detrimental to services. The candidate said that the city could possibly contract landscapers to maintain lands at-cost to free up DPW manpower. However, Kolodziej said he wants to bring a business mentality to the Council and would have no problem making tough cuts. Roy Noonburg Challenger; ran in 2006

Joe Kolodziej honed his skills on the Board of Education, and is now looking to take his fiscally prudent ways to the City Council. He had pondered running for a seat for a bit, but the decision was made after his mother, Gloria Kolodziej, and Councilman Joe Cupoli opted to not seek re-election., The candidate said his experience is his greatest asset and voters will recall his accomplishments on the Board. In addition to the BOE, Kolodziej has managed the family manufacturing company, Conveyors by North America, for 25 years. He also served as the community liaison for Assemblyman Thomas Giblin, and represented Athenia in ACTION Clifton. Kolodziej hopes to bring a business mentality to the Council. Kolodziej said that the Council has been taking the correct steps to address the city’s fiscal state, but he criticized its members ability to execute efficiently. The candidate said the sewer tax is actually an estimate derived from summer usage, not user-based, as claimed. Kolodziej said he would also like to look into alternative revenue streams. He is in favor of purchasing

Roy Noonburg is making a second bid for City Council, this time, with a little more experience to his name. The candidate is now a two year veteran of the Zoning Board of Adjustment. In making many tough decisions that effected many residents, Noonburg has come away with a greater appreciation and understanding of the government’s role in its relationship with residents. The candidate said that a lot of issues have to do with communication, and said that service and ensuring that residents needs are promptly addressed would be atop his priority list. He said quality of life officers are a great first step for improving Clifton both financially and aesthetically, but more is needed. Noonburg recommended raising the costs of fees for permits and other services. Noonburg, a former Clifton Police Officer, would like a comprehensive review of all departments for waste. However, speaking from experience, he believes that most departments are running on a slim budget. The candidate would also like to review the sewer tax.

Help Wanted: Writer Clifton’s monthly magazine has an exciting opportunity for a motivated, creative professional to assist in the overall production of our unique news package. We’re looking for a quality journalist with excellent editing skills and an eye for design. Salary commensurate with experience. Interested in helping us tell Clifton’s story? Please email your resume and cover letter, including salary requirements to: 74

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

Mary Sadrakula Challenger Sadrakula did not return any of our interview requests during the month of February.

No Response Joan Salensky Challenger Joan Salensky has worked in the City Hall Building Department for 33 years, and feels she’s every bit as experienced as current Council members, which is why she is running for office. If elected, she vowed to retire and become a full time Councilwoman. Salensky said the biggest challenge will be reducing taxes while maintaining quality of life. One immediate way to address this is by hiring more inspectors to tackle illegal housing, which the candidate said affects property values and reduces city services. Salensky

would also like to deal with predatory real estate agents who tell the working class that basement or attic dwellings are legal. The candidate said that illegal housing is one reason why a ward government wouldn’t work. Salensky said representatives would be more concerned about appeasing their voters than doing what is best for the city. She explained that someone from Botany, a heavy renter district, would not be interested in deal with illegal housing since so many voters there benefit from it. The candidate also said she’d like to get the legal department to look into repealing the NCAAP agreement that allows for non-residents to be hired in Clifton, adding that local employees will care more. Salensky stressed the need for department heads to be at Council meetings to improve responsiveness to problems. She continued, adding that the layoffs have forced employees to become more efficient. She singled out the DPW for absenteeism, and said that certain departments, like recreation, still have bloated budgets. Salensky added that she would like to see City Engineer Dominick Villano appointed as the DPW head. The candidate said she is a proponent of the Broken Window Theory made popular by former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani, and as a full time Councilwoman, Salensky added she will tackle any and all problems swiftly.

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Suzanna Sia Challenger Suzanne Sia is a political newcomer, but that hasn’t stifled her desire to become a part of the process. Her motivation for running is simple: The Clifton she knew has changed. Taxes have risen while services decline, forcing families to move out. Sia believes that departmental reviews are in order to eliminate waste and improve efficiency. The candidate is a program manager in information technology at Merck, and feels her expertise in budgets could be useful. Sia said that the DPW has improved service as of late, but said it is not yet satisfactory. She feels a full time DPW director could alleviate a lot of problems. Sia believes that voters will identify with her since she is not a career politician, but has the experience and intelligence to be successful. The candidate added that residents would be more compelled to vote if the election were held in November. Sia also said she’d like to review the different forms of government. George Silva Challenger; ran in 2006; 2007 runoff election George Silva believes that his years of involvement in the community will finally pay dividends at the polls this May, when he makes his third attempt at a Council seat. The candidate is perhaps best known for his advoca-

cy of Botany Village, where he had owned a business, and in Dutch Hill, where he lives. But as involved as he is, Silva said that it’s still difficult to understand the workings of the government. If elected, he’d like to make City Hall more transparent. Silva lamented the lack of communication with residents regarding the city’s grant writing firm, Bruno Associates, the sewer tax and the Ameripay scandal, among other issues. Silva likes the concept of quality of life officers to cut waste and free up man power, but is skeptical that large savings can be realized through organization. He believes that many departments are already running slim budgets. Silva added that he would like to work with grantwriters and Passaic County Sheriff Jerry Speziale to get a greater police presence throughout the city. With Silva’s encouragement, Speziale has deployed his officers in Botany Village. The candidate also reiterated his desire to see a ward government, or at least a study of the different available options. Silva would like a November election to save money. Matt Ward Incumbent; seeks second term Matt Ward said he believes his greatest accomplishment as a Councilman has been his ability to address quality of life concerns. The incumbent said his role is to mediate, attempting to solve small problems before they become large, city-wide issues. Ward, who hails from the more urban eastern end of Clifton, said he is in touch with resident needs and demands. In his own words, he described the role of

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Council members in this form of government as a customer service business. However, Ward said he is also aware that Clifton’s residents can’t afford another tax increase. He believes he has demonstrated the ability to make tough decisions in mitigating the affects of the recession. With more tough times ahead, Ward said voters need an experienced individual who is capable of serving the best interests of the city as a whole. In addition to his Council tenure, the incumbent served a three year term on the Board of Ed in 1999, serving as it’s president when the Board won voter approval for School 17. Ward is also a proponent of changing Clifton’s government. Though he did campaign on the issue in 2006, the Councilman was unable to garner enough votes for such a measure, and hopes to continue his work on the issue in his next term. Ward is in favor of moving the Council elections to November to increase voter participation and save an estimated $70,000 every four years. In seeing through such a change, he would also like to renew discussions about changing the entire form of government. Ward also said he favors the direct election of the mayor; division of the city into districts, with a mix of both representatives elected from each district and members elected to represent the entire city; as well as staggered elections.

Andrew White Challenger Andrew White comes into the election with no political experience but plenty of ambition. The Passaic Police Officer is running for Council to bring fresh, unique views to consideration. Taxes and quality of life are his main issues. White praised the Council’s restructuring plan, and said his 20 years on the police force could be of benefit—the candidate noted that he has done grant writing work for the PPD. He believes he can utilize his skills and experience to eliminate waste and possibly bring in more staff through state or federal funding, both in the Police Department and elsewhere. White pledged to maintain senior citizen and recreation services, and to analyze any cuts. The candidate cited the 2009 fire fighter layoffs as an example of a cut that negatively affected critical services. White would like to see the Council exert more influence on the County and State levels and criticized state mandates and high taxes. He would like to have the NJ League of Municipalities give a presentation on the different forms of government. White, a former ACTION Clifton representative, lives in Dutch Hill. WEEKEND SPECIAL



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BOE Election Results Demikoff, Passenti and Kowal Win; Budget Defeated Wayne Demikoff took first in the April 20 Board of Education election, earning 3,086 votes. The former Board President was joined by Mary Kowal (2,783 votes) who served on the BOE from 2005 to 20008, and Gary Passenti (3,047), who is a Clifton Police Sergeant. The three new members will join six seated commissioners who oversee a budget that accounts for nearly two thirds of resident tax bills. The Board also sets policies for educating some 11,000 students in Clifton. The sole incumbent in the race, Kim Renta—who served two consecutive terms on the Board—attracted 2,674 votes. The two other commissioners whose terms expired, Norm Tahan, who is a Clifton Deputy Fire Chief, and Jim St. Clair, a retired CHS Science teacher, chose not to seek re-election. Other candidates and their tallies: Barbara Novak, 2,254, Jack Houston, 2,235 and Joe Fazio, 1,056. Phil Binaso, a BOE candidate who refused to speak with this publication, placed seventh with 2,175. Gina Marie Scaduto, who filed the to run and then tried to remove her name from the ballot, received 508 votes.



Wayne Demikoff, Gary Passenti and Mary Kowal.

At their reorganization meeting on April 28, the Board re-appointed Jim Daley as President and selected Michael Paitchell as Vice President. The first challenge for the BOE is to work with the City Council in trimming more money from the $114,606,955 budget, which was defeated by a 3,721 to 3,640 vote, also on April 20. The slim margin was somewhat surprising, giving the increasing burden on families during the recession and pressure from Governor Chris Christie to defeat budgets at the polls, resulting in more than half of all school budgets in the state being defeated.

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May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

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My Clifton Night of Fame By Adeline DeLiberto DeVries

In November 1943, the Clifton Theater held Amateur Night every Wednesday. Weeks before, I had competed by singing a favorite song, Put Your Arms Around Me, Honey, but did not win. Instead, the winner was an elderly man who played The Star Spangled Banner on his mouth organ. Of course, I was devastated, but as an 8 year-old, I quickly resumed my busy life of school and friends. Later that November, a strong hurricane blew through Clifton. Power lines fell and trees went down. It was a scary time. In the days that followed, things returned to normal but people were leery of leaving their houses. My dad received a phone call from Mr. Bert Wayne, the coordinator of the amateur show. Due to the storm, many contestants had cancelled. Knowing we lived close to the theatre on Barkley Ave., Mr. Wayne hoped that I’d be willing to compete again. Without thinking, my stagemanaging dad (who fancied himself a fine singer) said of course that I would. Panic set in! I wore my hair in long pigtails and my mother wasn’t home… she had gone to her job at Western Electric, a defense plant. My dad, a bus driver, watched over the family in the evening. What would I wear… what would I sing? But dad had agreed and I didn’t question him. Thinking quickly, he called the girls next door, Jean and Eleanor Lindner, and had them braid my hair into perfect pigtails. In my closet was dad’s ace-in-the-hole – my cherished navy blue WAVES outfit. If the audience liked patriotic acts, my father would give them one they wouldn’t forget.

Outside the Clifton Theater where many people went to escape the hot summer days in the 1940’s is the DeLiberto family. From left are Adeline; family friend Sonny Vincelli; future Clifton letter carrier Joe DeLiberto; future Clifton City Hall switchboard operator Sarah (DeLiberto) Lombardo; Vincenza DeLiberto, a defense plant worker and crossing guard at the old St. Paul’s R.C. School on Main Ave.; and proud father Joseph V. DeLiberto. At right: Adeline DeLiberto DeVries at age 11 and a recent photo. May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


Looking Back at 94 Longtime Clifton resident Edna Siver considers herself as very lucky to be living a modestly comfortable life in these hard economic times. But the spry great grandmother who just turned 94 grew up during the Great Depression of the 1930s, so she knows what it’s like to have to make ends meet. “You better believe it was very tough during those days,” she said. “My mother sewed all our clothes and when we went to the store for food there was only so much that we could afford to buy. We had a coal stove in the kitchen for heat and we would all huddle around it at night to keep warm. Kids today are unbelievably spoiled. They have no idea what it was like to live during those times.” Born in Newark, Siver moved with her family to Center Street in Clifton when she was four years-old. She attended School 12 and the original Clifton High School, which now houses Christopher Columbus Middle School. Siver left high school after three years, following in the footsteps of her best friend, to get job at a woolen mill in Garfield. “My mother was furious at me for not finishing school,” she said. “But I didn’t want to go to school anymore if my friend wasn’t going.”

My Clifton Night of Fame There were 8,000 WAVES at the war’s end, representing more than 20 percent of the Navy’s total strength. Their name stood for “Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service.” These women freed many an able fighting men to defend our country by staffing control towers, medical facilities, packing parachutes, performing intelligence operations and various other duties. I wore my uniform proudly and would have joined the WAVES if I was old enough. We arrived at the theatre and went backstage. Surprisingly, the theatre was full… people were starting to go out again after the storm. I waited my turn as others preceded me—mostly other singers and tap dancers. I wasn’t nervous but wished my mother could have been there. Busy at her job, she had no idea this was taking place. But my dad was ecstatic… his “little girl” would be in front of an audience and he expected 80

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

By Carol Leonard

While she drove a truck during WWII, Edna Siver today enjoys needlepoint and gardening.

In retrospect, Siver wishes she had gotten her high school diploma. “Once you leave, you never go back,” she said. At age 19, she married her boyfriend Joe, whom she had been dating for four years. He was three-and-ahalf years older than Siver and worked as a textile engraver at the time. The couple stayed in Clifton, first renting an apartment before buying the two-family home in Botany me to bring the house down. Well, on that night, I did. Here we were, in the midst of World War II, and I stood at the center of the Clifton Theater stage singing loudly and confidently. Who could resist an 8 year-old with pigtails, wearing a WAVE suit and singing (Dad’s selection) You’re a Grand Old Flag? The applause meter went as high as possible, and I won a $15 first prize—a lot of money in 1943! We celebrated by going across the street to the local sweet shop and had ice cream sundaes. I was allowed to stay up until my mother came home, and I excitedly told her of my wonderful night. She was justifiably proud, especially with her two brothers away, serving in the armed forces. My mother also marveled at my dad’s resourcefulness. He smiled the entire night. With the $15, I bought a navy blue snowsuit with red embroidery. It warmed me throughout the long winter ahead and my long walks to School 3 on Washington Ave. It was a grand night... one I’ll never forget!

Village, where Siver continues to live today. Her husband passed away five years ago at age 92. Like many women during World War II, Siver took on a role that was pretty much exclusively held by men in those days: truck driving. Her father had operated a business delivering ice, coal and fuel oil. When the war broke out, Siver’s brother and the other young men whom her father employed were drafted into the military. “There weren’t many men around, so who was left – me,” she said. “I had to do it. Women had to pitch in to do a lot of the things while the men were overseas.” Fortunately for Siver, her husband was working at the time for Wright Aeronautics, which built the aircraft used in the war effort, so he was exempt from the military draft. And her mother was able to care for their young daughter during the day, while Siver worked for her father. Siver drove the delivery truck for five years until her brother and the other men came home from the war and completed their military service. Although it was hard work, she actually enjoyed the experience. “I liked being out and meeting and talking to people when I made my deliveries,” she said. “I missed it when I stopped driving the truck.” After the war, Siver’s husband and his brother went into business together operating a Shell service station on Lexington Ave. near Bizub Quinlan Funeral Home, and Siver got a job sewing clothing for the Barbizon garment company. She stayed home for a while when the couple’s second child was born, a son, whom they named Wayne, after the orchestra leader of the 1930s and 40s, Wayne King. Eventually, she went back to work making draperies and slip covers for an interior decorating company in Passaic. Her handmade drapes still adorn the windows in her home today. Siver recalls that, when she and her husband bought their home off Lexington Ave., there were only nine homes in the area.

“There were open fields where all the kids used to play,” she said. “In the winter ice would form in the gullies of the fields and the kids would ice skate there.” Siver also remembers walking to shop at the local mom and pop stores in the area. “We had a dry goods store and a shoe store around the corner,” she said. “Today, they’re all gone. Now, everybody goes to all the chain stores and the big malls.” In addition to their two-family home in Clifton, which they shared with various tenants over the years, Siver and her husband owned a vacation home on Lake Hopatcong for many years. “We had a lot of good summers there,” she reminisced. “The kids used to go water skiing on the lake. It was a great time.” Their son, now age 64, liked the area so much that he bought his own year-round home there when he got married, and he continues to lives in Lake Hopatcong today. When Siver’s husband was 59, he sold the Shell station and stopped working. Siver continued to work until she was 62. When the couple retired, they did a lot of traveling together. Among their jaunts were trips to Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, Germany and Italy. “I’m very thankful we were able to take those trips together,” she said “We had a great time and a lot of good memories.” Siver’s husband battled Alzheimer’s disease for a number of years before he passed away from injuries following a fall down the front steps of their home. “It was a very difficult time for me,” she said. “He would go out for walks and he didn’t want me to follow him. It made me worry.” Other than a few aches and pains, Siver remains in good health and continues to live alone and do her own cooking and cleaning. She also plants and tends to a vegetable garden every spring and summer. Her tenant graciously offered to turn over the ground for her to prepare for this year’s plantings.

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


“I like being independent,” she emphatically said. “Whatever I can do for myself, I do. It takes me a little longer than it used to, but I do it.” Siver also continues to drive her 1990 Buick at least two or three times a week, mostly to pick up groceries at Little Fall Shop Rite, attend services at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Passaic or visit her daughter Arlene, now age 70, who lives off Valley Rd. “I don’t know where I’d be without my car,” she said. “Public transportation is so limited around here. Where can you go if you don’t drive? When my eyes start to go, then I’ll stop, but right now I’m going to keep driving.” Siver doesn’t get out socially as much as she did in the past. “When my friends were around, I used to like to go into New York to see plays, but all of my really good lady friends are gone now,” she said “When you’re 94, you don’t have many friends left.” Siver also laments that she doesn’t get to see her four grandchildren and two great grandchildren, who all live out of the area, as often as she would like. “Years ago, everyone lived around the corner from each other,” she commented on how the world has gotten larger and less neighborly. “But what are you going to do? That’s the way things are today. They go away to college and don’t come back home to live.”


May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

Although she has become more of a homebody than she was in the past, Siver stays busy with a variety of interests. One of her activities is knitting baby caps and blankets, which are donated through the Eastern Star organization, of which she is a member, to newborns at Morristown Memorial Hospital. She also enjoys needlepoint and quilting. Once a month, she gets together with a group of other women at her church to assemble the quilting squares they have all made into quilts that are sent to missionaries around the world. She doesn’t own a computer, nor does she have any interest in learning to use one, but she makes it a point to keep up with current events and reads The Herald News everyday as well as books and magazines. She also enjoys watching The Doctors, which airs on TV at 9 a.m. weekdays, and The Dr. Oz Show at 3 pm. “If I’m out, I make sure that I get home by 3 o’clock so I can watch Dr. Oz,” she said. “He gives you a lot of good information. I write it down and discuss it with my daughter. We talk on the phone every night at 6:30.” Although at times she uses a cane or a walker with wheels to help her get around, Siver likes to keep moving. “No sitting around for me,” she said. Asked what advice she would give to people who want to live a long life, Siver said, “stay active and keep your mind going. Don’t just sit around and mope.”

Longevity: Love & Be Loved By Carol Leonard This month, Ellie Schimpf will reach a milestone that many others of us hope that we, too, will achieve someday in good health and with a sound mind. On May 20, Schimpf will celebrate her 90th birthday. The secret to her longevity, Schimpf feels, is a combination of factors, including her genes. One of her grandmothers and two of her great grandmothers lived to be over 90. “One of them was playing pinochle until she died,” Schimpf emphatically mentioned. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables, keeping active and staying socially involved with good friends and family members are the other aspects of her life that she believes have contributed to her overall good health and vitality. “And, I have the ability to laugh at myself,” she added. Schimpf was born in Passaic and moved with her family to their Paulison Ave. home in Clifton when she was two years-old. The area where they settled became known as Dutch Hill because many of the residents, including Schimpf’s

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


father, were of Dutch ancestry. Her maiden name is Broadfield. Schimpf recalls that there were no roads at the time, only farmland and cow pastures. “My Aunt Jenny used to take me and my sister, Neila, and my cousins, Ila and Virginia, on nature walks in

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the fields where the old Athenia Steel plant used to be,” she reminisced. “We’d pick wild flowers and drink water from a sparkling spring.” Although she lived through the Great Depression, Schimpf’s family was not as affected by the country’s worst economic crisis in history as were many others at the time. “Fortunately, my father didn’t lose his job,” she said. Schimpf attended School 15 and graduated from the old Clifton High School, which is now Christopher Columbus Middle School. While growing up, she was very active and enjoyed sports, especially swimming. At one time, she worked as a life guard at the YMCA. She met her husband Andrew when she was 17. He also enjoyed swimming and they met at the Clifton Pool. He was three years older than her and a factory worker at the time. They got married three years later and moved into her parents’ home, where they stayed until

purchasing their own home in the Athenia section in 1960. Schimpf went to work right out of high school, taking a job in the steno pool at the Manhattan Rubber company in Passaic. “I had to lie about my age because I was only 17,” she said. She helped her then future husband get a job at Manhattan Rubber, where he was trained as a chemist and eventually became an expert in compounding the materials of which bowling balls are made. “He was a self-made man,” Schimpf proudly said of her late husband. Schimpf stayed at Manhattan Rubber for five years before moving on to a position as secretary to the production manager and supervisor at American Color Type in Clifton. She left the working world for eight years to stay home and care for her two sons, Bill and Bob, now ages 54 and 51, respectively. She returned to work once the boys were in school, working at a variety of part-time positions

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May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

over the years until her sons were much older and on their own. “I always wanted to be home when they got out of school,” she said. Among her part-time jobs, she worked as a legal assistant for two years for Passaic County Surrogate Bill Bate, whom she describes as one of the most honest elected officials around. “He’s not a politician, he’s a true statesman,” she said. Schimpf returned to work fulltime as a secretary for Reefer Express, an international shipping company in Bloomfield. “It was a very interesting job,” she said. “They shipped products all over the world.” In her position, Schimpf had an opportunity to speak with customers in several different countries, including Austria, Japan and England. One of the most interesting days on the job with Reefer Express, she recalled, was when the secretaries went to see the company’s shipping operation at Port Newark. “A bunch of us got to have lunch with a captain of one of the ships,” she said. Schimpf stayed with Reefer Express until retiring in 1987. By then, the company had moved to Roseland and, at age 66, she had become weary of the commute. She and her husband struggled through some tough financial times. In 1977, Manhattan Rubber went out of business, so Schimpf’s husband lost his job. He was just short of the combination of years of service and age to qualify for a full pension. “We lost a lot in retirement income and stock payments,” she said. Fortunately, he was able to eventually get another job at Star-Glo Rubber in East Rutherford, and became director of research and development for the company. Schimpf’s husband passed away seven years ago, following a long

series of illnesses, including heart disease and bladder cancer. Having been together for more than 60 years, Schimpf said that she misses her husband dearly, but has accepted his death. “I thrive on the good memories we had,” she said. “He was a good husband and a good father. We had our tiffs, but we respected each other and that’s very important in a marriage.” Among the good times they enjoyed together were yearly vacations to Sanibel Island, Florida. There, they met and become good

friends with two other couples who also visited the island every year. After retiring from her job with Reefer Express, Schimpf became a volunteer at what was then The General Hospital Center at Passaic (later Passaic Beth Israel Hospital and now St. Mary’s Hospital). “One of my old neighbors from Paulison Ave. talked me into it,” she said. Schimpf was a patient representative and surveyor, visiting patients and completing the hospital’s questionnaires to keep track of how well it was serving its clientele.

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“I really wish that I had kept a diary of some of my experiences with patients,” she said of her 20 years of volunteer work. Schimpf still lives in Athenia, where she and her husband raised their two sons. Her younger son Bob lives with her, providing assistance around the house. Bill lives nearby in his own home, and recently was elected as commander of the Athenia Veterans organization, Schimpf proudly mentioned. She also has two grown grandchildren from Bill. She stopped driving when she was 84 because she realized that she was driving too slowly and too cautiously. “I was becoming a menace on the road,” she said. Schimpf uses the aid of a cane to help her get around on some days, but it hasn’t stopped her from going out to dinner and socializing, including with her old friend, Helen, and her next door neighbor Barbara Lally, whom she cherishes as a very dear friend.


May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

“Barbara knows that I love pot roast, so every once in a while, when she makes one, she brings me over a plateful,” she said. Schimpf enjoys getting together with Patty Mathieson, whom she met when she worked at Reefer Express. “Patty was the one who interviewed me for the job,” she said. “We became good friends.” She also enjoys the company of her son’s girlfriend Susan, and Gwen, who was one of the aides in the nursing home where her husband stayed when he was ill. “Gwen took good care of my husband and we became friends,” Schimpf said. “She calls me every week.” Although she doesn’t get to see them anymore, Schimpf stays in touch with two other longtime friends, Dee from Indiana, whom she met while vacationing in Sanibel Island, and Ann, an old friend with whom she worked many years ago. She still enjoys the art of writing long letters, but no e-mail for her.

Her notes are written the old fashion way—by hand—and sent through the U. S. Post Office. To keep her mind active, Schimpf likes reading magazines and books, particularly mystery novels and stories about animals. “I’m crazy about pets,” she said. “I had all kinds of animals when I was growing up – dogs, cats, canaries, a parakeet and even a duck.” Schimpf doesn’t watch much TV. “Except for Jeopardy, I like watching Jeopardy,” she said. She also keeps up with the news and makes it a point to get out and vote on Election Day. “I’ve voted in every election since I was eligible to vote,” she proudly stated. Love and be loved, and try to live your life one day at a time is Schimpf’s advice to her contemporaries. “And try to be with people of different age groups,” she said. “If you stay around people your own age all the time, all you talk about is your aches and pains.”

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


Members of the Mustang Marching Band (above) will hold a car wash fund-raiser on May 8, 15, 22 and 29, from 9 am to 1 pm at CHS. The car washing station is in the upper parking lot at the rear of CHS; enter from Colfax Ave. Funds will support the many Marching Mustang activities. Last February the Showband of the Northeast performed at the Winter Carnivale in Quebec. Directed by Robert Morgan and led this year on the field by CHS senior Drum Major Nick Lichtenberger, the Mustangs perform at CHS football games, events and parades, such as Memorial Day and the Halloween Parade. Debra Gretina is the president of the Mustang Band Parents Association. For details, visit The 9th Annual Lollipops & Roses Intergenerational Concert is on May 23 at 2 pm in the Clifton High School Auditorium. Admission is $7 while children under 12 are free. Presented by the Clifton Community Band, proceeds benefit the Clifton Education Foundation and the Clifton Community Band. Get tickets from band members or by writing or calling 973-777-1781. 90

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton High School Senior Prom Fashion Show, held at The Venetian in Garfield on March 10, was once again a success, with several local businesses chipping in to make sure that Clifton’s students had an evening they won’t forget. CHS seniors modeled tuxedos from Deluxe Formal Wear and gowns from Angelica-La Faye Fashions. Hairworks Urban Oasis, Lunar E Clips, Santa Fe Hair and Nail Salon, Guy Anthony Hair Salon and Nina’s Hair Salon all assisted in making the students look their best. St. Philip’s Knights of Columbus donated flowers, and AGL Welding supplied the helium for balloons. Proceeds from this annual fund raiser go towards Project Graduation, on June 23— Graduation night. Students leave the CHS parking lot at 9:45 pm and are transported to a secret and safe venue where they party the night away with hundreds of classmates. Tickets are $65, a $15 reduction due to assistance from the PTSA. Chaperones are needed and donations are always welcomed. To volunteer, donate or for info, call Chair Maryann Cornett at 973-779-5678.

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May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

CHS Student of the Month

Story by Joe Hawrylko

Though she’s not entirely sure what discipline she’d like to practice, Domenica Perrone knows that writing will be in her future. The Clifton High School Student of the Month will be attending Emerson College in Boston, where plans to hone her skills as a scribe. “I like writing stories,” said Perrone, who is enrolled in CAST. “Career-wise, I don’t know if a story writing career can work. I would love to try screen writing.” Perrone has pondered a career as an author, a journalist or even a screen writer. She said Wuthering Heights is her favorite book of all time. She also said she really enjoyed Under the Overpass, a book about two young men who give up all of their possessions and go live amongst the homeless. Perrone’s interest in reading and writing started at a young age and grew as she attended CHS. “The kids I went to [St. Claire School] with didn’t live near me so I would write and write and write,” she explained. Perrone said many of her teachers at CHS contributed to her decision to study writing at college. “I love Dr. You’ve spent years saving and investing for the day when Greenwald, my teacher for AP English. I love analyzing poetyou can put work you and enjoy the things you ry,” shebehind said. “Mrs. RETIREMENT IS NO TIME Zarabi, I loved her. love. But the only thing thatShe should change on that day is helped me write much TO STOP PREPARING your strategy. more professionally.” For her, the allure of You’ve spent years saving and At Edward Jones, can create strategy to help ensure writingwe is the ability to ainvesting for the day when you influence readers about important subjects. The Student the Month can putfor work you and the money you’veof saved willalso be there youbehind throughout expressed interest in studying broadcasting or film in college. enjoy the things you love. But the your retirement. So you may look forward to a steady, stable “The documentary Invisible Children changed my life,” claimed Perrone. only thing that should change on income for years to come. The film explores the role of children in the military in Africa and their role that day is your strategy. in the genocides taking place there. Perrone wrote about it in one of her At Edward Jones, we can create a strategy to help ensure the money assignments for AP English. To find out why it makes sense to talk with your you’ve saved will be there for you The documentary inspired her to take a more active role in her community. throughout retirement. Edward Jones financial advisor aboutyour your retire-So Perrone traveled to New York state two years ago to participate in a camp out you may look forward to a steady, ment savings, call today. “You stable income for years to come. to raise awareness for the film. “It was was cold and dirty,” she recalled. look terrible but people notice.” To find out more, call today. Locally, Perrone continued to get involved. “I joined the Key Club because Cy Yannarelli Cy Yannarelli, CFP, CLU my sisters ran it when they were here. Giggles theatre is myAdvisor favorite thing to Financial Advisor Financial . 730 Broad Street do,” she explained. Perrone visits the children’s ward at St. Joseph’s Hospital 730 Broad Street Suite Clifton, NJ 07013 and entertains children, and also reads there around Christmas. “Some are 2so Clifton, 07013 973-777-9620 sick they don’t get to see it [in person]. It’s streamed rightNJ to their room.” Open 8 AM - 6 PM 973-777-9620 Member SIPC Perrone also babysits for a nine year old and a six year old, the latter Sat. 9-1 whom is autistic. “He’s like one of my family,” she said. “I love them.”




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CHS SENIORS: Send in your surveys and photo NOW to be included in our June Graduation edition. To get a survey write to May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


Ploch’s Farm on Broad St. circa 1940.

Call it a

Family Affair Story by Irene Jarosewich

o one has any doubt that the family is the basic unit of society. In Clifton, however, it’s also the basic unit of the garden center. In a twist of history unique to this town, all of Clifton’s major centers – Ploch’s Farm on Grove St., Ploch’s Garden Center on Broad St., Richfield Farms and Garden Center on Van Houten Ave., Corrado’s Garden Center on Getty Ave. and Bartlett’s Greenhouses and Florist on Grove St. are all still owned and operated by the descendants—second, third, fourth and even fifth generation—of the original owners. Research on the internet produces the fun fact that outside of Southern California, Northern New Jersey has the highest concentration of garden centers per square mile of any other place in the United States. Though it is



May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

not clear who actually has the time to figure out facts like this, it is clear, that New Jersey is called the Garden State for good reason. Exits 11 through 16E notwithstanding, New Jersey was and still is linked to the land. And each spring, Clifton’s centers throttle into high gear. The oldest of the centers, Ploch’s Farm on Grove Street is maybe less of a garden center and more of an expanded old-fashioned farm stand. At 15 acres, down from the original 60 in 1867, Ploch’s Farm is the second largest working farm in Passaic County. Set up high on a hill, with a view of the Watchung foothills on one side and Manhattan on the other, the farm is barely visible from the road. Whenever people speak of Clifton’s past as a farm community, Ploch’s Farm is a reminder of what kind of life that once was.

“Clifton is changing,” said Rudy Ploch, the farm’s owner, “but then it has been changing for more than 30 years. The last real farms sold out in the 1970s.” An upbeat and cheerful man, Ploch is nonetheless a bit irritated with the condition of nearby Schultheis Farm “which was supposed to be used as farmland, but is being used for contractor parking, instead.” Ploch, who will admit to being over 55, “but I won’t say by how much” works his 15 acres mostly by himself, with occasional help from his wife Maria and daughters Donna and Christina, the fifth generation to run the family business. Starting May 1, customers begin coming to Ploch’s for the hanging baskets made-up by Rudy’s daughters and the flats of annuals and vegetable seedlings that come out of the greenhouse. Mid-summer customers come for the freshly picked corn and tomatoes, and up until the late fall for pumpkins and squash. About 20 years ago, said Ploch, he switched from primarily wholesale to retail, though he continues to supply some local restaurants, among them Mario's on Van Houten Ave., with fresh produce in the summer. During the past several years, he has seen a strong upswing in vegetable gardening, “maybe in response to the economy, but I also think in response to people wanting to eat more healthy and fresh food.” Though his farm in not organic, “we use very little chemicals, so I say we’re 90 percent.”

William Morton, 27, the general manager at Richfield Farm, is the fourth generation to manage the family farm. Now five acres, William’s great-grandparents began the family business on a much larger plot, part of which is the current home of Clifton High School. “We’re an old Clifton family,” says Morton, “for example, Van Breemen Dr. takes its name from my great-grandparents, it was their last name, and it was once part of the property.” In the heart of Clifton, Richfield’s, established in 1917, has been serving home gardeners for decades. “People come to us for our products and knowledge. We pride ourselves on quality and wide selection, which is our customers appreciate.” With a master horticulturist on staff, Morton understands that an informed customer is a satisfied customer. “The more knowledge you have about gardening, the better – and the importance of healthy, high-quality plants is essential to good gardening,” he noted. Besides the tradition of family garden centers, the tradition of gardening among families is also important. “We have many customers who are Eastern Europeans,” said Morton, “where the tradition of gardening is ingrained in the culture and passed on through the family and gardening well is understood and appreciated.” Along with all the other managers of the garden centers, he too has noticed an increased interest in customers’ desire to use and buy organic.

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


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old rickety farm stand that looked like a porch up front. But we’ve had good success and grown and now our managers squeeze out every inch of space for our products.” Her son Michael, 30, now runs the center where he has worked ever since he was a boy. “Everything you need for good gardening, we have on site or know when we can get it for you,” he said, “and I’m confident that our staff can answer any question or will find out the answer for you.” Customer service is the key to his center’s success, he feels. “I truly appreciate every customer that comes in,” said Spirko, “they don’t have to come here. I know they can go elsewhere.” Spirko, whose customers come in not only from Clifton, but from nearby Montclair, Nutley and Bloomfield as well, says he sees many young couples, new home owners just starting out their garden, as well as retirees that are avid gardeners. Spirko, whose family also owns the Strawberry Blossom Garden Center on Rt. 23 in Wayne, also has seen a tremendous interest in water gardens in the past five years and predicts growth in that area. Jack Kuepfer, who was recently honored by Clifton’s Optimist Club for his decades’ long effort to maintain Morris Canal Park, has a soft spot in his heart for the Spirko boys—Michael and his two brothers—from Ploch’s Garden Center. “Whenever they would have broken bags or mulch or topsoil, they would just load it up on a truck and bring it up Broad St. to the park. And then, somebody would help me come and spread it. They did this for years. It’s the kind of family they are.” Joey Corrado, Jr., 30, is the third generation of the Corrado family to be in the family business. In the 1950s, Joey’s grandfather James started a family store at the Paterson’s Farmer’s Market. In the 1970s, Corrado’s Market opened at its present location on Main Ave. and in 1997, Corrado’s opened the garden center on Getty Ave.. Corrado, along with his six cousins, now manage


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Morton predicts that rather soon, maybe even within ten years in urbanized areas such as Clifton, the strong chemicals that people now use on their lawns and gardens will become a thing of the past. Only a few weeks ago, Bartlett’s Greenhouses and Florist celebrated their 90th year in gardening on the original three acres on Grove St. “We’re less of a garden center and more of a full service florist,” noted Nancy Bartlett, the third generation of her family to manage the business. Nancy’s grandparents Sarah and Charles emigrated here from Ireland and England and in 1920 established Bartlett’s. After World War II, her father Harry began to work with his parents, taking over the business in the 1960s. Now Nancy with her siblings Skip (Harry, Jr.), Maryetta and mother Irene manage the business since her father’s passing in 1987. “What makes us unique as a florist, is that we grow our own plants – bulbs for the spring, mums for the fall, poinsettias in winter, bedding plants for summer,” she added. Some of the greenhouses are original, a few that were bought used are now over 100 years old. And though Bartlett’s doesn’t sell shrubs, or gardening tools or loose bulbs, a gardener will find a wide array of potted plants ready to transplant in the spring and hanging baskets for patios and decks. “Our motto this year,” she said “is ’90 years and still growing!’” And, she adds with a smile, “still having fun.” On Broad St., Ploch’s Garden Center is owned by the Spirko family. In the mid-1970s, Linda and Joseph Spirko leased and then bought the two acres, which included a farm stand, from George and Pauline Ploch, who were distantly related to the Ploch family on Grove. However, the Spirko family never considered changing the name. “When we bought,” said Linda, “we thought two acres was HUGE. How would we ever use it all – we asked ourselves. So first, we put up a greenhouse, and for years, we had a beautiful greenhouse in the back and an

said, “about 95 percent are homeowners, not landscapers. People who watch their money. Even if they have a big job to do, they’ll buy supplies with us directly and hire the labor.” Asked what it’s like to work with six cousins, Corrado laughs, “We do everything together. We’ve been doing everything together since we were little. We didn’t give it much thought. We just did it. We wouldn’t choose it any other way. We’re all very happy and we can only hope that it will continue.” In terms of volume sales at the garden centers, the tomato wins at both Ploch’s on Broad and Grove Sts. Annuals, in particular petunias and inpatients, are tops at Corrado’s. Richfield’s number one In a 1998 photo Elinor and Carl Schroeder, Jack and Debbie Morton, their son, seller is bulk topsoil, which they Will, and Carl Schroeder Jr., at Richfield Farms. bring up from South Jersey. “To the large Corrado’s complex in the northwest corner of have a good garden, you need to have good soil and we’re Clifton. one of the few in the area that sells bulk topsoil,” said A 30,000 square foot retail store on four acres of outMorton. “We literally sell tons of the stuff.” door space, Corrado is very clear that sales at his garden Despite the intensely hectic schedule of the peak sellcenter are price driven. “Because of my size, I have to ing season, Joey Corrado’s words seem to reflect the genlook at the big box stores,” he said, “and we make sure eral attitude among all the places. All the managers of the our prices are competitive.” Variety and value pricing garden centers are happy people who love their jobs. As draws in his customers, who come not only from Clifton Linda Spirko said, what works best is the motto she and nearby Paterson, but also from more distant towns taught her sons: work hard, be honest, have fun! such as Wycoff, Alpine. “We get customers from all There is a great deal of satisfaction, said Morton, from over,” said Corrado, who estimates that during the busy the success of a garden. Besides the economy and healthseason, which is April through July for all the centers, ier eating, he thinks that the upswing in gardening will between 20 and 25 thousand people come through his continue and become permanent as more people realize garden center each week. “Most of our customers,” he how much fun it is to make your garden grow.

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The Hamilton House Museum will celebrate its 35th anniversary in a gala on June 9, 7 pm at the Valley Regency. Tickets are $45 and includes dinner, dancing and cash bar. Call Norma Smith curator at 973-744-5707. The Hamilton House on Valley Rd. is a Dutch gambrel-roofed homestead salvaged for posterity in 1975 when the structure was moved across Valley Rd. to Surgent Park. It is now maintained by the city and volunteers who provide tours, special events and offer a walk through history, with each room on display to depict how Cliftonites lived during the 18th and 19th century. During May, a Hamilton House exhibit is displayed at the Clifton Main Library on Piaget Ave.

The New Hope Players (above) presents its Spring 2010 Drama Program and performance at the New Hope School, 780 Clifton Ave., on June 8 at 7 pm. The play, directed by Jennifer Bushinger, is part of the HSA Performing Arts program. Admission is free. Call 973-272-3255 for info.


May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

Urban Revival is an exhibit of the work of selected students enrolled in the Clifton High School Art Department on exhibit at the Clifton Arts Center, 900 Clifton Ave. through June 5. Above: untitled by Catie Wilson.

The Mental Health Association in Passaic County celebrates Mental Health Awareness Month by showcasing artwork that challenges the stigma of mental illness. The

works will be displayed at Main Memorial Library, 292 Piaget Ave., from May 8 to 31. A reception for the artists is on May 27, from 7 to 8:30 pm. Info: 973-478-4444.

Assemblyman Tom Giblin, at left, was among the 200 people who attended the 2010 Optimist Club of Clifton awards banquet on May 2. Also pictured is Capt. Robert Rowan, and in front of him, Barbara Watterston. At center is Jack Kuepfer, jr. and his sister Ruth and at right is Jeff Labriola.

Jack Kuepfer—Mr. Morris Canal—(pictured inset) was awarded the Clifton Optimist Club’s Lifetime Achievement Award on May 2 at the Clifton Recreation Center. Honored for his work at the Morris Canal, the 89-year-old Kuepfer could not attend the ceremony but his two children did. CCMS art teacher Jeff Labriola received the Club’s highest honor—2010 Friend of Youth. The 1997 CHS grad was honored for his work in the classroom and as founding president of the Clifton Arts Center. Barbara Watterston received the Stanley Zwier Community Service Award for three decades of service in keeping Clifton clean and green. Clifton Police Captain Robert Rowan was awarded the Judge Joseph J. Salerno Respect for Law Award. Now Chief of the Detective Bureau, Rowan began as a patrolman in 1974 and has served in virtually every division of the CPD. For more on the Optimist Club and its activities, call Tom Hawrylko at 973-253-4400.

Students of Life (SOL) at William Paterson University is a mentoring program by experienced adult volunteers for William Paterson students. Volunteers can devote as much time to the program as they have available. To volunteer or for info, email or call 973 720.3690. Grandparents or other kinship caring for children whose parents are unable or unwilling to do so are invited to attend the Grandparents as Parents (GAP) meeting May 12, from 9-11:30 am at St. Anthony’s Parish Center, Myrtle Ave., Passaic. The Clifton High School Class of 1960 marks 50 years on May 15 at The Russian Hall in Little Falls. Doors open at 6 pm and tickets are $75. For info, email Nancy Lewis Zink at Mail/make checks to Kathleen Ploch Mack, 14 Aldom Circle, West Caldwell, 07006. She can be reached at 973-618-1830.

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Running for Billy Story by Chrissie Cluney CHS 2002 grad Erin Cluney ran the 26.2 mile Paris Marathon on April 11 with co-workers from Coach, Inc. to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Erin ran in honor of family friend Billy Maurer, who was diagnosed in October 2005 with Multiple Myeloma, a cancer of the blood. After a stem cell transplant

in December 2006, his cancer is now in remission. However recently Maurer has had three strokes which have rendered him blind in one eye in addition to speech and motor deficits. He is currently undergoing rehabilitation at Kessler in Saddle Brook. Cluney had never ran a marathon before so last October, she and her co-workers signed up with Team In Training which molded them into

Ready to Paint Clifton Purple? Relay For Life Clifton Team Members will be hanging ribbons and signs throughout the city. These Paint the Town Purple activities are designed to get the community excited about the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life of Clifton. Relay For Life is an opportunity for the community to help the American Cancer Society create a world with less cancer and more birthdays by helping people stay well, be helping people get well, by finding cures and by fighting back. Relay For Life of Clifton will take place on June 12-13, 2010 at Clifton Stadium. Relay For Life is an overnight community celebration where individuals and teams camp out, barbeque, dance and take turns walking or running around a track “relay” style to raise funds to fight cancer. At nightfall, participants light hundreds of luminaria candles around the track in a touching ceremony honoring cancer survivors as well as paying tribute to those lost to the disease. To learn more about the Relay For Life Clifton and its many teams, visit our website To learn more about cancer visit

100 May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

marathoner runners with four day weekly training sessions over six months. Through the charitable efforts of family and friends, Cluney raised $6,200 within a five month period. Her Team Coach raised $250,000 while Team in Training Paris raised over $1 million. At Coach, Cluney is Handbag Planning Manager for Full Price North American Retail. Her responsibilities include creating sales plans and buying the inventory to support those sales for Coach Inc’s North American Retail business. Additional donations can be made to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society by visiting Erin Cluney’s donation page at nyc/paris10/ecluney.

The Passaic County Community College Foundation was established in 1976 to provide scholarship support to PCCC students who, without the assistance of these funds, would not be able to attend college. “Our philosophy is to open the door to opportunity for deserving students, many of whom overcome both financial and personal challenges to pursue their dream of a college education,” said Todd Sorber, Executive Director of Institutional Advancement and Workforce Development. He noted PCCC was founded in 1971 and has campuses in Paterson, Wanaque, Wayne and Passaic. Since its beginnings, the PCCC Foundation has enabled students to earn a college degree and continue on to fulfilling careers. Over that time, donors have increased in number to more than 50 companies, organizations, and individuals who are dedicated to

Assemblyman Tom Giblin, center, was feted at the 19th annual Passaic County Community College Foundation Scholarship Gala on April 22. He is pictured with PCCC President Steve Rose, left, and Board of Trustees Chair Rick Ricca.

supporting education and helping others realize their potential. “Thanks to the generosity of our donors—and through our scholarship gala—the PCCC Foundation will award over half a million dollars in scholarships for the 2010-

2011 academic year. We are grateful to our donors and very proud of our scholarship recipients.” For more information on the PCCC Foundation, contact Todd Sorber at 973-684-5656 or email him at:

May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


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Lisa Poggi, a CCMS Language Arts Teacher who directed and codirected various musicals at the school, is offering a Summer Musical Theater Camp. Held at School 3 from July 6 through July 30, the program runs MondayFriday from noon to 3 pm. Open to ages 10-14. For more details, go to Actors Stew is a free discussion group open to mature teens and adults interested in acting—the craft, the philosophy, the business. Sessions are open to the public and the May 14 meeting is from 7:309:30 pm in ATC’s Main Studio, 68 Union Ave., Downtown Clifton. Contact Kathleeen Kellaigh at 973772-6998 or The 21st Annual Child Health and Safety Fair is May 8 (May 15 raindate), from 10 am to 2 pm at School16. Presented by the Clifton Fire Department and Clifton Public Schools, there are health and safety demos, screenings and activities. Free. Info: Stop n’ Shop Cancer Fundraiser: The Broad St. supermarket manager Christine Lysicatos asks shoppers to play Triple Winner. Purchase a scratch off ticket for a dollar, have two chances to win that dollar back and at the same time donate to cancer research. “You can win free product, cash and make a donation to Sloan Kettering,” she said, adding: “All proceeds go to the Sloan Kettering Hospital for fighting childhood cancers.” The business networking group LeTip of Clifton meets Wednesdays from 7 am to 8:30 at the Jubilee Park Diner on Allwood Rd. For info, go to Send community news to us at We’ll publish it as space permits.

The Passaic County Elks Cerebral Palsy High School held School Spirit Week April 26-30. Students at the Union Ave. school made their own floats and had a parade in the Candyland theme. Staff and students also held a chicken barbeque throw-down and had a powderpuff football game, among other events. Up next for the students is their annual Prom which is at the Valley Regency on May 20. For info on Clifton’s three CP centers, call 973-772-2600.

St. Peter’s Summer Sunset Blues Cruise Sails benefits the food bank of St. Peter’s Haven. Sail the majestic tall ship A. J. Meerwald (left) through New York Harbor on July 2, 7 or 13 enjoying live music. Depart Liberty State Park at 6 pm. Tickets are $55, includes water, soda and beer. For details, e-mail

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May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


Jonathan Colon turns 3 on May 2. Best wishes to Clifton author Glory Read who will be 85 on May 8.

Stacey Englehardt & Steven Crampton announce they are ngaged to marry Sept. 17.

Birthdays & Celebrations! send dates & names... Mike Szwec . . . . . . . . . . . . .5/1 Samantha Cruz . . . . . . . 5/2 Jessica Perez . . . . . . . . 5/2 Jordan Lynn Bykowsky . . 5/3 Maria DeGraaf . . . . . . . 5/3 Julia Komarczyk . . . . . . 5/3 Margie Maloney . . . . . . . . .5/3 Thomas Zangara . . . . . . . .5/3 John Anderson Jr. . . . . . . .5/4 Spencer Flynn . . . . . . . . . . .5/4 Russell Courtney . . . . . . . . .5/6 Vanessa Laine Montesano 5/6 Mary Domyon . . . . . . . . . . .5/7 Margie Hatala . . . . . . . . . .5/7 Dorothy Alburo . . . . . . . . . .5/8 Terry Capilli . . . . . . . . . . . . .5/8 Ken Hauser . . . . . . . . . . . . .5/8 Alexandra Homsany . . . . .5/8

104 May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

Rory Houston . . . . . . . . . . . .5/8 Frank Lo Gioco . . . . . . . . . .5/8 David Peter Mosciszko . . .5/8 Matthew Nagy . . . . . . . . . .5/8 Hector Perez . . . . . . . . . . . .5/8 Christine Siluk . . . . . . . . . . .5/8 Thomas Steranko . . . . . . . .5/8 Petey Pathos . . . . . . . . . . . .5/9 Ray Zang . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5/9 Gianna Carmela Musleh 5/10 Jessica Camp . . . . . . . . . .5/12 Rebecca DeChellis . . . . .5/11 Joe De Liberto . . . . . . . . .5/12 Michael Lonison . . . . . . . .5/12 Donna De Liberto . . . . . .5/13 Myrt Petty . . . . . . . . . . . . .5/13 Jeff Reilly . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5/13 Michael Zawicki . . . . . . . .5/13

Jim Visconti and Margaret Lipski were wed on April 17 at Il Tulipano.

Chuck Amucka . . . . . . . .5/14 Alice De Liberto . . . . . . . .5/14 Dorothy Brown . . . . . . . . .5/15 Earl Grosser Jr. . . . . . . . . . .5/15 Victoria Leja . . . . . . . . . . .5/15 Fred Gurtman . . . . . . . . . .5/16 Mark McGuire . . . . . . . . . .5/16 Rosemary Canavan . . . .5/17 John Hawrylko . . . . . . . . .5/17 Vick Ascencio . . . . . . . . . .5/18 Jamie Antal . . . . . . . . . . .5/18 Michele D’Amico . . . . . . .5/18 Walter Hryckowian . . . . . .5/18 Mariana Pineda . . . . . . . .5/18 Becky Kuter . . . . . . . . . . . .5/19 Jennifer Mulick . . . . . . . . .5/20 Ken Bender . . . . . . . . . . . .5/21

Gia Camille Genardi hits double digits on May 2 when she turns 10 And happy birthday to her Bubba who celebrates on May 10!

Joe Murolo . . . . . . . . . . . .5/21 Matthew Palladino . . . . .5/21 Kage Lord . . . . . . . . . . . . .5/22 Danah Alburo . . . . . . . . . .5/23 Jessica Bielen . . . . . . . . . .5/23 MaryEllen Krattinger . . . . .5/23 Michele Perez . . . . . . . . . .5/23 Donald Lopuzzo . . . . . . . .5/24 Michael Santosuosso . . . .5/24 Brittney Abell . . . . . . . . . . .5/25 Olivia Alexandra Hryckowian . . . . . . . . . . . .5/25 Connie Paladino . . . . . . .5/25 Derek Bykowsky . . . . . . . .5/26 Alyssa Dalbo . . . . . . . . . . .5/26 Kaylee Pinter . . . . . . . . . . .5/26 Jonathan Rideg . . . . . . . .5/26 Fred Antes . . . . . . . . . . . . .5/27 Steve Bielen . . . . . . . . . . .5/27 Kyle J. Magaster . . . . . . . .5/27 David J. Ricca . . . . . . . . .5/28 Anthony Alcalde . . . . . . .5/29 Valerie Gancarz . . . . . . . .5/29 Anthony DeSomma . . . . .5/30 Rachel Gergats . . . . . . . .5/31 Christopher Ramirez . . . . .5/31 Christopher Smith . . . . . . .5/31 Logan Thompson . . . . . . .5/31


May 2010 • Clifton Merchant


Plumbing & Heating Contractors No Job Too Small • 973.546.1330


Tired of the High Price of Oil Heat? Save thousands—convert an aging & costly oil heating system to an energy efficient gas boiler & water heater...

Leaky faucets, running toilets, an old and inefficient heating system... the list goes on and so does the wasted money. How long can you afford to turn a blind eye to those little problems around your home that slowly wastes money and then one day becomes a costly headache—and always on that coldest day of the year? If you decide that you are going to fix the problem before it becomes an emergency, then call Mark Zecchino of Holzec Plumbing & Heating. He is a licensed Master Plumber and would be happy to visit your home or office and discuss any of the problems listed above and give you an estimate of how much a repair or replacement will cost. His company has been in Clifton since the 1980’s when his father-in-law Mike Holzli began the business. Mark joined up with him in 1990 and formed Holzec, Inc. Over the last two decades, they’ve worked on plenty of homes and it is likely they’ve worked for a friend or neighbor as both Mark and Mike are Clifton residents. 106 May 2010 • Clifton Merchant

No job is too small for the Holzec team. They’ll do the nitty gritty—cleaning out the clog of grime in a kitchen sink, laundry room or a bath tub—to more ambitious jobs like remodeling a bath and a shower or installing a hot water heater. Heating system not performing at top efficiency? Holzec can tune it up or discuss the costs and benefits of installing a new Weil McLain gas heater, which can cut annual fuel costs by up to 30 percent. For customers who decide to convert to natural gas, Holzec provides complete service from site evaluation, presenting options, securing the permits and installing the new equipment. In most cases, this work can be completed in a day and with minimum disruption to you and your family. So if you are among the many who have been “looking for a good plumber,” get your list of things to do ready and call Mark Zecchino at 973-546-1330.

Make an appointment before it’s an emergency!

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Tomahawk Promotions 1288 Main Avenue Clifton, NJ 07011



Jim Anzaldi is a lifelong Clifton resident dedicated to our city and its people. He has been a special part of the city’s civic and charitable causes, helping people from all walks of life. He is an outstanding public official who is respected throughout the community.

Jim Anzaldi deserves our support and help on May 11.




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