Home>Articles>Emil Sorenson, former freeholder, mayor of two towns, dies at 98

Mayor Emil Sorenson, left, and other local officials at the annual inspection of the Sparta Fire Department in 1967.

Emil Sorenson, former freeholder, mayor of two towns, dies at 98

Held local office in Sparta and Stillwater

By David Wildstein, April 29 2018 12:19 pm

A memorial service will be held on May 19 to celebrate the life of Emil Sorenson, Jr., a former Sussex County freeholder and mayor of two Sussex County towns, who passed away on March 29 at the age of 98.

He was a World War II veteran, serving under General Dwight Eisenhower in the 82nd Airborne Division.  He served in counterintelligence and interrogated alleged Nazi war criminals prior to their prosecution at Nuremburg.

Sorenson served as a councilman and mayor in Sparta in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.  As mayor, he moved Sparta to a Township Manager form of government.

He served as Sparta Republican Municipal Chairman, and as Sussex County chairman of former U.S. Secretary of Labor James Mitchell’s campaign for the 1961 Republican gubernatorial nomination.

Sorenson was elected freeholder in 1968 and re-elected in 1971.

Gov. William Cahill appointed him to serve on a tri-state commission to review the federal government’s plan to build a dam on the Delaware River.  Sorenson played a key role in convincing Cahill to oppose the dam, which the Nixon administration eventually dropped.

In 1986, Sorenson challenged four-term Stillwater Township Committeeman Charles Harris in the Republican primary and beat him 250 to 136.    He later became mayor of Stillwater.

The service will be held at the Redeemer Lutheran Church in Newton at 11 AM on May 19.

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