David S. Chadwick, who was elected to the Rutherford Borough Council at age 33 but later stepped away from politics so that his wife could enjoy a long career as a mayor and freeholder, died on April 11. He was 97.
One of an increasingly small number of New Jerseyans who held public office while Dwight Eisenhower was president, Chadwick was appointed to fill a vacant seat on the Rutherford council in April 1955.
Chadwick had been the top vote-getter in the April primary for council – eight Republicans sought four seats — and was picked to replace Bill Miller, who had resigned for health reasons.
He and running mate, Herbert Mallet defeated Democrats Francis Moriat and Sigmund Hoffman.
He did not seek re-election to the council in 1958, but returned to run again in 1959. Chadwick polled slightly behind Republican William Einreinhofer and won the second council seat by slightly more than 1,000 votes over Democrat John Gulow.
During his second stint in local office, Chadwick served as council president.
Chadwick gave up his council seat in 1963 to run for mayor when the incumbent, Mallet, left to run for the State Assembly.
In the general election, Democrat Justin Tokarski defeated Chadwick by about 240 votes. Republicans maintained their 6-0 council majority.
His wife, Barbara Chadwick, a registered nurse and local GOP leader, entered politics in 1975 and won her husband’s old council seat.
In 1977, Chadwick became Rutherford’s first woman mayor when she defeated Edwin Selby by a 53%-47% margin. Selby later moved to Sussex County and became the Democratic county chairman. She served as mayor of ten years, and starting in 1981, began a 20-year career as a Bergen County freeholder.
Barbara Chadwick died in 2012 at age 90 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.
David Chadwick was a U.S. Navy lieutenant assigned to a Sub Chaser in the South Pacific during World War II. He ran several businesses, served as president of the Rutherford Public Library, and was active in numerous community and philanthropic endeavors.
He is survived by his three sons, three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.