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Chief Bill Polhemus Passes

Bill has been known as “Sheriff Polhemus” for many years now, but he was known as “Chief” by the Seaside Heights police department and community before he retired and moved on to county government. Bill was also a member of the Seaside Heights Volunteer Fire Company for many decades, among numerous local organizations he belonged to, and was a strong supporter of Ocean Air Support Squadron (a volunteer flight organization that I am associated with that serves the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department).  Bill’s loss is sad news for our community. Condolences from all of us to Bill’s wife “Aggie” – Councilwoman Agnes Polhemus – and to his daughter and grandchildren.

Bill was one of the town’s few remaining links to the pioneer days of Seaside Heights. His grandparents, Mr. Samual McNicholl and Helen Gallagher McNicholl, resided along what was later named Dupont Avenue even before Manhasset Realty carved the town into lots and started selling. Bill’s father was a local contractor and built many of the early homes and commercial buildings in town.

Living directly across the street from Bill and Aggie during my high school years was always interesting, especially when my sister and I threw one of our Saturday night parties when Tony & Mary Ellen were out of town. But I’m fairly sure that he never ratted me out! In later years, I enjoyed our conversations about Seaside Heights history. He had so many personal memories and great stories he loved to tell. I learned something new from him every conversation.

Viewings for Bill will be held at the Timothy Ryan Funeral Home, 145 St. Catherine Blvd. in Toms River, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday.  The funeral service will be held at the same location at 11 a.m. Friday. Bill will be buried at Ocean County Memorial Park.

Here are some photos of Bill from The Terry Groffie Collection, The Dr. Anthony E. & Mary Ellen Vaz Collection, and the Seaside Heights Volunteer Fire Company Museum Collection. You can enlarge the images with your mouse.

040_75th   003Polhemus_1

Nate Ready For Anything  170

The State of South Jersey

Once upon a time, in 1980, Seaside Heights joined dozens of other municipalities from nine southern NJ counties in supporting a movement to secede from “North Jersey.” A proposed state flag and map prompted Governor Byrne’s staff to start a whisper campaign promising that National Guard soldiers would be activated if the insurrection continued.  Note: Yes, I am aware of the fact that I posted this on Independence Day.

From The Collection of Dr. Anthony E. & Mary Ellen Vaz

Jody’s Pancake House

Jody’s Pancake House on the Boulevard.  This photo appeared in a campaign handout during the 1977 election.  My father was elected to his first term on Borough Council that year with Agnes Polhemus and John Jennings (who served as tax collector back when it was still an elected position). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courtesy of Dr. Anthony & MaryEllen Vaz.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade Video

This is a video of scenes from the annual St. Patrick’s Parade held in Seaside Heights yesterday (March 12, 2011). The video starts with pre-parade activities at Station 44 and then video shot from inside Ladder 4401 along the parade route. The final 15 minutes of the video shows parade highlights shot from Hancock Avenue and the Boulevard. Give your mouse a left click over the photo to get the video rolling.   

Dell Hopson Chief of Fire Company

I’m going to be adding many Christmas and New Year’s advertisements and greetings from the 1940s to 1950s. While organizing those microfilm clips I came across this December 17, 1943, Ocean County Review news article mentioning that Dell Hopson was reelected chief of the Seaside Heights Volunteer Fire Company. Other people mentioned in the article whose names are familiar to many of us include Thomas Reutter (elected as foreman) – “Tommy” is still a member of the fire company and regularly attends meetings and fire calls even to this day – Paul K. Hershey (deceased father of present Seaside Heights Mayor P. Kenneth Hershey), Henry “Tex” Gilmore (deceased father of Borough Attorney George Gilmore), and Charles Kessler. The annual fire company election is more than a bylaw requirement – it is one of the great traditions that have been passed down from one generation of firefighters to another. Congratulations to James Samarelli on your election to Fire Chief (2011) and my father, Tony Vaz, on your reelection to Company President (2011). And a big thank you to all of the firefighters and members who served as officers in 2010! As always, use your mouse to expand the photo.