MONTVILLE, NJ – The Montville Township Committee honored centenarian Dr. Merrill Stern with a proclamation at his 100th birthday party on June 17.
Mayor Frank Cooney presented the document at the outdoor, block-style party that was attended by neighbors, friends and the Towaco Volunteer Fire Department.
Stern was born in Jersey City and when his family – his parents and he and his two brothers – were younger, they spent most of their summer vacations in Pine Brook, according to the proclamation.
Stern served in the armed services as a member of a medical unit in Europe providing immediate triage and crisis care to liberated prisoners in the Nazi work camps, and “his experiences in the European theater were deeply impactful, as were his personal experiences of military life and inherent social inequities manifested in the 1930s and ‘40s. They shaped his enduring commitment to peace, an opposition to war and military conflict, and his support of civil rights and equality,” the proclamation stated.
Stern also served in the Korean War, where he was stationed in Japan.
He and his wife Rhoda lived in Caldwell and Lake Hiawatha, and had two daughters named Shelley and Gail. Stern set up his dental practice in Caldwell. The family joined Congregation Agudath Israel in Caldwell, where he became “actively involved in local issues of civil justice and community service, held a wide array of executive positions in numerous community and public service organizations such as Kiwanis and Interfaith Initiatives for Caldwell.”
The Sterns moved to Towaco in 1968.
Towaco Civic Association President Daria Senaldi said Stern was a charter member of the TCA.
“Years ago, he donated money towards the landscaping at Reilly Park on Hewlett Road. He also had landscapers maintain the planting area by the Reilly Park sign for many years. Whenever he heard of someone in town that was in need, he would help them with a donation,” she said.
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