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Former DOT commissioner, ex-mayors, state fire leader die

By David Wildstein, April 13 2019 10:42 am

Russell Mullen, a former acting New Jersey Commissioner of Transportation, died on April 9.  He was 94. Mullen joined the DOT under Gov. Richard Hughes in 1969 and served under governors WIlliam Cahill, Brendan Byrne, Thomas Kean  and Jim Florio. He spent many years as  assistant commissioner for highways and was acting commissioner in 1977.

John Kobiela, a former mayor of Somerville, died on April 10.  He was 90. Kobiela was a two-term councilman when mayor Michael Kerwin was elected Somerset County freeholder in 1990. He was the Republican party choice to succeed Kerwin and then won election in his own right when he defeated Democratic councilman David Hollod.  He did not seek re-election in 1995. Kobiela served in the U.S. Army during World War II.

Lloyd Ronchetti, Sr., a World War II Purple Heart recipient who served as president of the New Jersey State Fire Chiefs Association from 1977 to 1978, passed away on April 11.  He was 100. He served as 4th Ward leader of the Vineland Republican Party.

Robert Nace, a former mayor of Morris Township, died on April 11.  He was 72.  Nace was elected top the township committee in 1998, running unopposed for an unexpired term.  He remained in local government for ten years, serving three terms as mayor.

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