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Deaths: mayor-turned minister; CIA employee-turned-councilwoman; official state apiarist

By David Wildstein, February 16 2020 6:35 pm

Rev. Bill Steelman, a former mayor of Mendham Borough and the leader of an unsuccessful bid to merge with Mendham Township in the 1990s, died on February 4.  He was 79.  Steelman spent 32 years as a banker in New York City before attending Yale Divinity School at age 58.  He later spent fifteen years as a congregational minister at The First Congregational Church in Nantucket.

Ann Wick West, a former Bernardsville councilwoman and acting mayor, died on February 9.  She was 90.  West worked for the Central Intelligence Agency in the 1950s and then as a research chemist.  She was a councilwoman from 1980 to 1992.  She was a former president of the Raritan Headwaters Association.

Jacob Matthenius, a former Warren County freeholder who was once New Jersey’s official beekeeper, died on February 7.  He was 91.  Matthenius worked for the state Department of Agriculture from 1947 to 1990, and served as a U.S. Army corporal during the Korean War.  He began his state government career as a deputy bee inspector, and became the official state apiarist in 1980.    Matthenius was the president of the New Jersey Beekeepers Association and the president of the Eastern Agricultural Society.  He served one term as a Pohatcong councilman and one term as a freeholder.

James Buccellato, a former worked for New York Gov. Averill Harriman as a special agent in charge of investigations in the 1950s, died on February 11.  He was 98.  Buccellato served in the U.S. Army during World War II and later as a judge in New York City.  He lived in Red Bank.

Rev. Charles McDonnell, a retired bishop and U.S. Army brigadier general, died on February 13.  He was 91.  McDonnell was ordained as a priest in 1954, serving in the Archdiocese of Newark.  He became an Army chaplain in 1965 and served in assignments across the world, including Vietnam.  President Ronald Reagan nominated him to serve as deputy chief of chaplains in 1986.

Susan Bowman, a former Wrightstown councilwoman, died on February 3.  She was 56.

Denny DiRenzo, a former Cherry Hill councilman, died on February 12.  He was 78.

Shirley Potts, who served as tax collector for Far Hills for 20 years and then as tax assessor clerk in Bedminster for 15 more years, died on February 12.  She was 89.

Delores Becker, a former member of the Manalapan-Englishtown Board of Education, died on February 12.  She was 87.  Becker worked as the office manager at Raceway Park for 45 years.

Charles Forsman, a former Wenonah Planning Board member, died on February 7.  He was 84.

Edward Monkowski, a former Wallington Republican Club member, died on February 12.  He was 98.  Monkowski was a World War II veteran.

William Hopkinson, who served on the Avon Planning Board, died on February 5.  He was 79.  Hopkinson served as a volunteer firefighter and first aid squad member.

Charles Engler, a former New Providence Planning Board member, died on February 6.  He was 91.

Bill McFarland, who served on the Holmdel Board of health for 28 years, died on February 11.  He was 90. McFarland was a U.S. Army veteran and served on the Monmouth County Watershed Committee.

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