Ben Simmermon, Jr., who served as a Salem County Freeholder for 15 years, died on May 4. He was 80.
Simmermon began his political career in 1976 when he won a seat on the Pilesgrove Township Committee. He defeated Democrat Louis Bader by a 68%-32% margin. He served several stints at mayor.
In 1991, Simmermon teamed up with two-term incumbent John Lake to run for Salem County Freeholder. They defeated Democrats James Alfieri and Edgar Hathaway. Simmermon won by nearly 1,600 votes against Hathaway, the top vote-getter for the Democrats.
Lake and Simmermon easily won re-election in 1994 against Democrats Robert Geary and James Johnson.
After Lake retired in 1997, Simmermon ran with Jack Kugler and the two won by over 3,000 votes. The coated to victory in 2000 against Andrew Rhea and Charles Pitt, the Democratic challengers.
Simmermon won his fifth term in 2003. Kugler switched parties and ran for re-election as a Democrat. While Simmermon was the top vote-getter in that race, Democrat Beth Timberman ran less than 400 votes ahead of Republican Joe McAllister, with Kugler finishing fourth.
His political career ended in 2006 when Democrat Jeffrey Hogan defeated Simmermon by roughly 1,300 votes. Timberman was easily re-elected, and Republican Mike Manahan finished last
Simmermon worked at DuPont Chamber Works for 37 years before retiring.
He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Mary Ann, two sons, and six grandchildren.