Jackson teacher and author Victoria O’Donnell moderated an interactive history lesson at the Jackson library branch Saturday, Nov. 8.
The Jackson branch hosted an interactive history lesson on the township Saturday afternoon.
The program was co-sponsored by the Ocean County Historical Society and the Ocean County Library. It was organized by Betsy Dudas, Trustee and Director of the Research Center at OCHS; Principal Librarian Meagan Toohey; and Senior Librarian Jo Anne Morales.
The program included nine panelists and moderator Vickie O’Donnell who is a teacher and chronicler of Jackson history. Panelists included past library commission director Eleanor Hyers, Alexander Golubov, Ann Korzen Richardson, Bill Linke, Nancy Luna, police Lt. John Decker, Danny Black, teacher Walter Reed and Dr. Vincent DeMura, MD.
“I was an old-time doctor without the wagon,” said Dr. DeMura, who practiced medicine for three decades in Jackson, including stints as school physician, physician to the first aid department and to the police department. “I touched the life of just about everyone on this panel.”
Other panelists shared their unique perspective on growing up in the town and their take on its growth from a small farming community, to a commuter’s bedroom community, to today’s multicultural town.
Nearly 50 people attended the program, including the “dean” of Jackson educators Bernie Reider and Betsy Dudas, Trustee and Director of the OCHS Research Center.
Mr. Reider (I still call him Mr. Reider, ever since I had him for geometry as a sophomore back in 1967) had worked for the Jackson Board of Education (teacher, principal, administrator) since 1963. He knows just about everybody in town.
Other audience members participated by adding their memories of the town including the Great Forest Fire of 1963 and the national importance of the Russian-community vacation spot Rova Farms which was THE social and dining spot for Jackson residents.
The Q&A session that followed the panel discussion allowed the 50 attendees a chance to share their memories of Jackson history.
Dr. Vincent DeMura practiced medicine in Jackson and “touched the life of just about everyone on the panel.”
Bernie Reider, the “dean” of Jackson educators, spoke of his 51 years in Jackson educating thousands of its children.
Eleanor Hyers, past Chair of the Ocean County Library Commission, spoke about growing up in Jackson.
Dan Black was born and raised in Jackson. Dan has guided several authors, including Vickie O’Donnell and the late Karen Riley, to several historic sites in the township. Dan also served as the town’s youngest mayor in the 1970s and confronted the state DEP when it attempted to dump truck loads of radon-contaminated soil onto Colliers Mills property. The state trucks left without dumping the soil.
Educator Walter Reed spoke about the history of the Jackson school system. He remains deeply involved in the community and is the Chair of the Jackson Alumni Hall of Fame, raising funds for high school graduate scholarships.
Alex Golubov spoke about the Russian-community vacation spot Rova Farms in the Cassville section of Jackson.
Ann Korzen Richardson spoke about growing up in the Van Hiseville section of Jackson.
Bill Linke spoke about Jamison’s General Store & Post Office in the Van Hiseville section of Jackson.
Nancy Luna spoke about growing up in Jackson’s Hispanic community and the Luna Market that was owned by her family.
Police Lt. John Decker spoke about the history of Jackson’s police department from the time it was patrolled by NJ State Police, to its first three paid police officers, to today’s force of about 80 members.