WEST ORANGE, NJ - A nostalgic piece of West Orange history, Colgate Park, was once again the site of the 37th Annual Oldtimer's Day on September 14. Each year, time stands still for a few hours as Oldtimer's Day provides a sentimental setting for West Orange residents near and far to gather and recall their memories of Colgate Park, friendships made and held dear for lifetimes, and to honor the memory of those that have passed away.
Monsignor Joseph Petrillo read an opening prayer originally written by John Healy, the ceremony began.
Yesterday's event was especially emotional as Mayor Robert Parisi made mention that in the past two weeks, Thomas Callahan, long time Colgate supporter, and West Orange Police Officer Tim Groves. who grew up at Colgate Park and was part of the Community Services Unit for the WOPD, passed away. Parisi, who grew up with Groves, choked up as he spoke of his childhood friend "Grover," their times together at Colgate Park, and his contributions as a West Orange Police Officer.
Long-time Oldtimer's organizer John Healy, who passed away in July, will be honored with a memorial stone beneath the Colgate Park sign on the field in the near future. Recreation Director Bill Kehoe and Mayor Parisi both noted sadly, how Oldtimer's Day did not feel the same this year without him.
In addition to a short exhibition game by the "Oldtimers" awards were given out to present and former town residents that had grown up at Colgate, and continued to give back to the West Orange Community. As each honoree was introduced by a close friend, good natured banter was the order of the day.
The 2013 Colgate Hall of Fame Award Honorees were:
Robbie Pansulla (introduced by Brian Ennis)
Joe Storm (introduced by Dan Tobia)
Mike Peer (introduced by Joe Manzella)
Pete Mitola (introduced by Mike Merwin)
Jim Huber (introduced by Lou Santucci)
Dickie Woods (introduced by Mike Merwin)
George O'Rourke (introduced by Brian Flynn)
Ralph Minelli (introduced by Wayne Gallagher)
Drew Minelli (posthumous; received by brother Ralph Minelli)
The Zeevalks: George, Bobby, Nancy, Billy and Dave (introduced by Bill Kehoe and Dave Zeevalk)
John Healy (Mayor Rob Parisi)
Mayor Parisi then read a Resolution honoring John Healy, passed by New Jersey State Senator Richard Codey, Assemblyman John McKeon, and Assemblywoman Mila Jasey.
After the short exhibition game, a reunion was held in Connor Hall at Our Lady of Lourdes Church.