July 2024 Issue Obituaries

HOFFMAN — Alice Mae Hoffmann (nee Anderson) age 93 years of Mickleton passed away on May 19 in Inspira Hospital, Mullica Hill.

She was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA and married the late Donald Hoffmann in 1952. In 1974 they moved to Cherry Hill, later moving to Mickleton in 1991. Mrs. Hoffmann later moved to United Methodist Communities of Pitman in 2022.

She was a member of Clonmell United Methodist Church, Gibbstown. Mrs. Hoffmann enjoyed playing bridge with friends, sewing, shopping and was a devoted Phillies and Pittsburgh Steelers fan. She also enjoyed traveling with her late husband and family gatherings.

She is survived by her children, Jean and Richard Mertsock of Clarksboro, Wayne and Lynne Hoffmann of Mullica Hill; her grandchildren, Megan Schaffer, Jessica and Kevin Czajkowski and Nicholas Hoffmann and her great granddaughter, Shelby Czajkowski. Mrs. Hoffmann was predeceased by her husband, Donald C. Hoffmann and her brother, Walter Anderson.

Services were held at the McBride-Foley Funeral Home, 228 West Broad St., Paulsboro. Contributions can be made in her memory to the Activities Fund of United Methodist Communities of Pitman, 535 N. Oak St. Pitman, NJ 08071. Memories can be shared at www.mcbridefoleyfh.com.

ROHRMAN – Edith Rohrman, 81. Edie lived in Gibbstown for 50+ years, but her heart was in Swedesboro.

A sunny August day in 1999 found her beloved borough at a crossroads. The John C. Rulon House, a prominent structure in the middle of town, was being auctioned. Everyone of note was in attendance and aware that this was a make-or-break moment for the future of Swedesboro.

When the gavel fell there was a collective sigh of relief. Albert and Edie Rohrman had won the bid.

Of course, there was much work ahead restoring the “Musty Mansion” as well as getting it added to the NJ and National Historic Registry, but for Edie, it was familiar territory. She had been a volunteer project manager to restore Trinity “Old Swedes” Episcopal Church after roof truss failure in the 90’s. During this project she was nicknamed the dumpster lady, climbing around the debris looking for anything of historical significance. Edie was one of the few who were gutsy enough to climb the steeple scaffolding all the way to the top: 106 feet to be exact.

It was often said that Edie was born in the third pew of Trinity. She had been raised in the church, her father, the Rev. Parker F. Auten, was the pastor while she was growing up.

She served the church her entire life. She was the secretary for many years, gave tours for schoolchildren, was the organist and held many positions on the vestry over the years.

People mattered to Edie. She took the time to catch up not just with you, but all of your family. She knew everyone’s names, everyone’s children and grandchildren’s names, all about their careers and pastimes.

Though she was constantly busy she certainly knew how to have a good time and enjoyed traveling with Albert. Edie would go to her escape in St. Thomas and had adventures all around the globe.

She enjoyed being out on the water with Albert in their sailboat, Mis Fortune, and Carpe Diem, their boat at the Raccoon Boat Club. She tooled around in her 380SL Mercedes convertible; she and Al had his and hers models. And they both had pilot’s licenses occasionally pulling back on the yolk and soaring into the clouds.

She read incessantly. She would get five newspapers per day as well as many magazines per month. Articles of interest were clipped out and stored away for safekeeping. It was all part of her drive to preserve history which she learned from her daddy.

Of course, she not only studied the history of Swedesboro, she lived it. Edie was most proud of the fact that she met the King of Sweden when he visited and accompanied him to Longwood Gardens.

Edie was generous to a fault; just about every request for money was met with a check. Even the squirrels and cats in the neighborhood relied on her: come 4 o’clock they’d be mulling around waiting to be fed.

Edith Ruth was born at Mayaffey’s Maternity Hospital, attended the original Auburn Avenue School, Swedesboro Grammar School, graduated Swedesboro High Class of ’61 and Glassboro State College class of ’65.

Early years found her teaching 6th grade at J. Mason Tomlin School. She went on to work as office manager at S.J. Groves and Sons Company on the Interstate 295 project. She often said, “I helped build 295”.

She also worked for the New Jersey State Preservation Office where she an integral part of getting such places as the Old Swedes Inn added to the NJ Historic Registry.

The freshman Edie Auten would catch the eye of a sophomore, the late Albert C. Rohman, Jr. They would share a 54 year marriage. She is survived by her “foster” daughter, Michelle Simone (Jamie); sister-in-law, Eileen Lynch (Frank); nieces and nephews, Fern, Fawn, Michael and Christopher; cousins, Dorothy Sutton, Cathy Bennett and Carol Sutton; and caretaker and friend, Mary Magdin.

Donations to Trinity Foundation, P.O. Box 51, Swedesboro NJ 08085 will be appreciated.

BARBERA — JoAnn Fichera Barbera, 69, of Woolwich Township, passed away May 27 at Inspira Medical Center, Vineland.

Born in Woodbury, JoAnn was a life resident of Woolwich Township. She was a graduate of Kingsway Regional High School, Class of ’73 and retired as a bus aide for Kingsway Regional High School.

JoAnn loved horses, had several on her farm and in previous years, rode her horse in the Swedesboro Christmas Parade. She was strong willed with a good sense of humor and knew what she wanted.

JoAnn was the daughter of the late Paul and Mary (Cristaudo) Fichera and is survived by her brothers, Lewis (Catherine) and Paul Fichera, nephew Robert Benjamin Fichera, niece Mary Rose Fichera, and great-nephew Joseph Carmen Fichera.

Contributions in her memory to the Colleen Sorbello Breast Cancer Foundation Inc. 754 Asbury Ave. Ocean City, NJ 08226 would be appreciated. Arrangements by the Cheega Funeral Home, Swedesboro.

DALE — Mary Ann Dale (nee Casella) from St. Albans, VT passed away on May 29 in

Burlington, VT at the age of 76. Born in Swedesboro, she met her husband Steve when she was 14 at the Swedesboro frozen custard stand. They married two years later and celebrated their 60th anniversary in March.

Mary Ann’s career included working as a waitress, owning her own restaurant, and co-founding the popular Just Dogs hot dog stand with Steve. Her love and generosity profoundly impacted her family, friends, and everyone who knew her.

In her leisure time, Mary Ann indulged in various hobbies that brought her joy and relaxation. She found solace in watching her hummingbirds and reading, loved dancing and soaking up the sun at the shore, and shared laughter with her family as the master game cheater.

Mary Ann is survived by her husband Steve, daughters Lorraine Cook, Julie Dale, and Shannon Dale (Boyd Whalen) and son Bret Dale (Amy); brother Samuel Casella (Rosemary); sister-in-law Carol Casella; grandchildren Shelby Samartino, Anthony DelMonte (Samantha), Ethan Klesch, Mason Klesch, Elijah Dale, Cady Brewer, Danny Brewer, Isabel Dale and Quinn Dale; and several nieces, nephews and greatgrandchildren.

Mary Ann will be dearly missed by all who knew her, but her spirit will live on through the memories she created and the lives she touched.

At Mary Ann’s request there will be no services.

FERGUSON — John H. Ferguson age 101 years of Mickleton, formerly of Paulsboro passed away peacefully on June 15 in the NJ Memorial Home, Vineland. He was born and raised in Paulsboro where he was a 1940 graduate of Paulsboro High School.

Mr. Ferguson was a veteran serving in the United States Army Air Force as a sergeant in Burma during World War II. He retired after 40 years of service with Mobil Oil Company as a storekeeper.

Mr. Ferguson was a member of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, Paulsboro and Clarksboro Masonic Lodge #87 F. & A.M. He enjoyed golfing, visits to Myrtle Beach, boating, sailing and water skiing as well as woodworking. He could often be seen riding around his property in Mickleton on his riding mower.

He is survived by his children, Joann and William Rammel of Lititz, PA, Peter Virgilio of Lenoir, N.C.; his grandchildren, Stephanie Lockwood and Steve and Caylen Rammel and his great grandchildren, Joey, Bella and Camille Lockwood and Mattaus Rammel. Mr. Ferguson was predeceased by his beloved wife, Lois M. Ferguson.

Arrangements by McBride-Foley Funeral Home, Paulsboro. Contributions can be made in his memory to the Autism Society of America, 6110 Executive Blvd., Suite 305, Rockville, MD 20852. Memories can be shared at www.mcbridefoleyfh.com.

SCHULER — Clara B. “Claudie” Schuler (nee Norton) age 96 years of Clarksboro passed away peacefully on June 15 in Woodbury Mews, Woodbury.

She was born and raised in Center Square and was a 1945 graduate of Swedesboro High School. After graduating, she worked for a few years as a teller at Penns Grove National Bank.

While growing up she was a member of Center Square Methodist Church, and she was a current member of Clonmell United Methodist Church in Gibbstown. Mrs. Schuler enjoyed crocheting and knitting, remembering special occasions with cards and tending to her yard.

She is survived by several cousins, nieces, nephews and special friends. Mrs. Schuler was predeceased by her beloved husband of 72 years, Herbert Schuler; her parents, Benjamin and Anna Norton; her sister, Edith O’Neill and her brother, Charles Norton.

Arrangements by McBride-Foley Funeral Home, Paulsboro. Contributions can be made in her memory to the Scholarship Fund at Clonmell Church, 516 W. Broad St., Gibbstown, NJ 08027. Memories can be shared at www.mcbridefoleyfh.com.

RICHARD HERITAGE

HERITAGE — Richard Charles Heritage (12-21-53 to 5-29-24).

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” Maya Angelou. Rich Heritage lived these words, always making those around him feel unique and special.

As a birthright Quaker, Rich believed that there is a special light, that of God, in every one of us. That truth guides us through our life. His beliefs and upbringing made him the person that he was in both his personal and public lives.

Rich grew up in Mickleton, ‘Exit 2 on the turnpike’ as he affectionately referred to it. He graduated from Kingsway Regional High School in 1972 where he captained three sports (football, basketball, and baseball) and was an All-State performer in each.

He went on to play football and baseball at Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College), where he was awarded the John A. Alexander Medal, given to the member of the senior class with the most exceptional record in athletics. After graduating with a degree in Health and Physical Education, Rich attended Indiana State University to earn his master’s degree in Athletic Training while serving as a Graduate Assistant Coach for the football program.

In 1977, he returned home to Mickleton to teach Health and Physical Education and coach baseball and basketball at Penns Grove High School, while also coaching lightweight football at the University of Pennsylvania.

In 1979, after knowing each other since elementary school, he married his soulmate, Jodee (Engle), and they moved back to his alma mater in Westminster, MD, where he coached running backs under Head Coach Jim Hindman, who was also the founder of Jiffy Lube International, which Rich worked for as well.

As fate would have it, Jiffy Lube grew quickly, and Rich and Jodee moved to Virginia Beach, VA for two short years so Rich could take advantage and work at franchise headquarters.

In 1985, Rich and Jodee moved to Cheshire, CT where they laid roots, raising their three children, and still calling the town home today. Through this move, Rich joined two of his college football teammates and friends, forming Backfield Inc. where their franchising adventures began focusing on growing Jiffy Lube’s presence in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Long Island, NY.

In 1991, Rich and his partners sold their Jiffy Lube franchise, and Rich quickly returned to his passion, coaching football at Wesleyan University and Junior Varsity Lacrosse at Cheshire High School. After a few years, Rich invested in another small business, Green Pages, where he

managed the operational side of the business before ultimately becoming a member of

the Board of Directors. Rich adamantly believed in the importance of volunteerism and giving back to his community, especially when it came to leveraging the power of athletics to build lifelong skills and relationships, particularly for his three children but also well beyond. He was

the President of CONNY Lacrosse and the CT Lacrosse Foundation for a number of years, as well as the Cheshire Youth Lacrosse Program (boys’ and girls’). To top it off, Rich also officiated as time allowed at the youth and high school levels, while also assisting as Head Coach of CHS Freshman Football for three years. For his years of service and dedication to the sport of lacrosse, Rich was an inductee into the

Connecticut Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2019, despite having never played a game of the sport himself. Rich always felt so fortunate to be surrounded by so many other ‘teammates’ who worked tirelessly alongside him to grow any sport they touched and foster the leadership qualities that only athletics can afford.

He was immensely proud of his sons, Brad and Todd, who went onto play college lacrosse at Dartmouth College and Bucknell University, respectively, as well as his daughter, Dana who played both field hockey and lacrosse at Middlebury College. Rich made sure to attend every game and to follow every aspect of their sporting endeavors as they were the highlight of his life!

He also cherished traveling on countless family vacations over the years and keeping Jodee company at the beach in Watch Hill, RI and Ocean City, NJ. His smile will live on the side porch at the corner of 12 Larkin Road forever.

Rich is survived by his wife Jodee, their three children and five grandchildren: Bradley Heritage (Elizabeth Bennett, Lucy, Jamie and Scottie) of Wellesley, MA, Dana Heritage Testa (Zeke Testa, Blake and Cole) of Wellesley, MA, and Todd Heritage (Erin Horleman) of New York, NY, his brothers, David Heritage (Barbara) of Madison, CT, and John Heritage (Sue) of Roseland, NJ, as well as many nieces and nephews, and grand-nieces and nephews.

Contributions in honor of Rich can be made to his beloved Cheshire Lacrosse Club via Venmo (@CLClax1983), visiting CheshireLacrosse.com (see link on main page), or by sending a check made out to Cheshire Lacrosse Club, Inc. to 84 Linwood Drive Ext., Cheshire, CT 06410.

KUSTERA — Johnny Kustera, 56, of Swedesboro, passed away at Cooper Medical Center in Camden, from injuries sustained in an automobile accident. Born in Woodbury, he has lived in Swedesboro for the past 30 years, coming from West Deptford, New Jersey.

Johnny was a graduate of West Deptford High School Class of ’85 and worked as an auto body technician for Maaco Fleet in West Deptford.

He enjoyed volleyball, but his main passion was building and playing the acoustic classical guitar. He was proud to say that he learned how to build this type of guitar from the best, namely, Thomas Humphrey.

Johnny is survived by his wife of 28 years Duska, his mother, Vinka, his step-daughter, Samantha (Michael) Chiorazzo, grandchildren, Hazel and Luke Chiorazzo, and his siblings, Helen Kustera, Anthony, Thomas (Rose), Robert (Tracey), Vincent (Kimberly) Kustera and was predeceased by his father, Ivan and sister, Kathleen Kustera.

Arrangements are by the Cheega Funeral Home, Swedesboro.

LOPES — Jose “Joe” Lopes, 82.

Joe was always in motion. Most days he got his 10,000 steps in before daybreak, strolling around Locke Ave Park.

Early to bed, early to rise, he had seen more sunrises than just about anyone. Family was always his first priority, but he was also there for his community: 1976 found him being Man of the Year in Roselle Park for his work constructing ball fields for the neighborhood kids. And if his neighbors needed a hand he’d come running to the rescue, shovel in hand. He worked in construction where they often sought solutions from Joe rather than the architects and engineers: they offered knowledge from the university, his came from the school of hard knocks. It was a type of learning that never stopped. A work ethic second to none, everything perfectly straight, everything perfectly level. That aesthetic carried over to his personal life: even in his eighties he took on the epic task of dismantling his patio to make sure all the hardscape was just right. When he moved to Woolwich he created a garden. Actually, it was more like a small farm: well thought out and perfectly tended with rows that were laser straight. Any of his remaining property featured an array of fruit trees: figs, apple, cherry, pears. Of course, his real calling was as a grandfather. Grandpa Joe was always there for anything they needed; supporting them in all their activities and also supplying endless amounts of fruit and vegetables from his garden. Relaxing times found him doing a little pheasant hunting, his German Short Haired Pointers by his side and regaling stories from his youth: Joe remembered everything in vivid detail. He loved soccer (Portugal, Benfica, Tottenham), old cowboy movies and the occasional cat nap.

A young Joe met a pretty girl named Candida at the yearly Portuguese picnic. They’d spend some time exchanging letters before embarking on a 59 year marriage blessed by many laughs, shared core values and 4 children, Jay (Mary Ann), Rick (Suzanne), Suzanne (Don) Beaucage, and Cindy (Blake) MacMinn; and later by twelve grandchildren, Kristen, Samantha, Matthew, Mary Ann, Emilia, Lena, Angela, Liliana, Kyle, Sabrina, Aidan and Julia and one great-grandson, Raymond. He is survived by his siblings, Albano (Margarida), Emilia (the late Faustino) Costa and Olinda (Celio) Leitao and many cherished cousins and friends.

donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (stjude.org) will be appreciated.

THOMAS — Wilbert Albert Thomas III, 64.

His working years found Big Bud completing many concrete projects for Madison Masonry and General Contracting. Of course he found his real calling in retirement; he was meant to be a grandfather.

He and Harper were thick as thieves wandering his Woolwich property, Bud walking and Harper following along on his little Jeep. If he wanted a grilled hot dog in the dead of winter, Bud would pop out on his deck and oblige. The two shared a love of fruit snacks, juice boxes and pillow fights with the couch cushions.

Bud was Swedesboro as Swedesboro could be. A Kingsway graduate who knew everyone, and everyone knew him. You didn’t have to be that close to him to get a favor. If he heard of someone in need the answer was always yes.

From the days of his youth, he loved his vehicles; never without a few trucks and motorcycles. Free time found him heading out of the area to do a little hunting, everywhere from Maryland to Kansas. If his television was on, he’d be cheering the Phillies, watching some old westerns or catching up on golf scores. He was a meat and potatoes guy, listened to a little country music, was always up for dessert and liked to occasionally spend some time at the Trop in A.C.

Bud is survived by his son, Wilbert IV “Buddy” (Kelly) Thomas, siblings, Larry, Chris (Abby) and Kathy (Bill) Rode; and many nieces and nephews.

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