\Superior Court Judge Samuel Natal, who had served on the bench for 35 years, died on November 24. He was 74.
A former assistant Camden County Prosecutor, Natal reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 in 2015 and then stayed on in recall status.
Natal was serving as the Cherry Hill Republican Municipal Chairman in 1982 when a fight for control of the local GOP organization erupted between State Sen. Lee Laskin (R-Cherry Hill) and Assemblyman John Rocco (R-Cherry Hill), a former mayor.
A slate of a dozen insurgents allied with Rocco filed to run for county committee seats but withdrew before the primary prior to facing a challenge of their nominating petitions.
Later that year, a fight erupted between Natal and Jules Rosa, who has been on the Rocco slate, to head the Cherry Hill motor vehicle agency.
Gov. Thomas Kean nominated Natal to serve as a Superior Court Judge as part of a deal with Senate Democrats to make Samuel Asbell the prosecutor and Robert Gladden, the Secretary of the New Jersey Senate, a judge.
In 1981, Natal fought a bid by Alene Ammond, a former Democratic state senator, to become the Republican nominee for mayor of Cherry Hill. He instead backed David Weintraub, a former high school principal and aide to State Sen. Barry Parker (R-Mount Holly) to run against Democrat Maria Barnaby Greenwald, a Camden County freeholder.
The Rocco faction had strongly opposed Ammond, who had been denied a second term by Democrats in 1977 for a seat eventually won by Laskin.
The Philadelphia Inquirer first reported Natal’s death.