From Nutley Notables:
Ruth and Stanley Bedford met for the first time in 1952 while both were working with the Essex County Young Republicans in General Dwight Eisenhower’s successful presidential campaign. Five years later the couple wed and settled in an apartment in Nutley. Ruth had always admired her Aunt Jane’s house (Jennie Blum Longfelder) on Highfield Lane and they purchased the spacious home and its landscaped grounds.
For decades Ruth and Stanley opened their home to a variety of community and social gatherings. In Nutley’s earlier years, when Aunt Jane watched over the homestead, built in 1885 which she purchased in 1912, the Highfield address was also a popular location in the community’s political and social scene with parties to which such notables such as Annie Oakley and others came.
Ruth’s grandfather, Abram Blum, was the first mayor of Nutley under the commission form of government in 1912. Her uncle, Simon Blum, was a commissioner. Ruth grew up surrounded by a family submersed in Nutley’s social and political life, as did her sister Jane Burgio, who was N.J. Secretary of State in the Kean administration.
Over the years, Ruth generously volunteered her efforts to Nutley political candidates of both parties and at the same time became active as a community worker with several charities and organizations. She is perhaps best known for her work with the Nutley Family Service Bureau. Most of her professional career was as personal secretary to retail magnate William T. Grant. After Tom Kean was elected New Jersey governor in 1981, Ruth became the manager of his Newark office.
Stanley Bedford grew up in Newark, earned his degree at Columbia College in 1941 and then entered the Navy. After the war, he entered the Columbia University School of Law and earned a law degree in 1948. After several years in the Newark Law firm of Cox and Walburg, he was appointed to the N.J. District Court by Gov. William Cahill in 1971. He progressed to county court and superior court before retiring in 1986. Over the years, Judge Bedford volunteered his legal expertise to Nutley charitable groups including the Red Cross chapter.
Together Judge and Mrs. Bedford set the spirit of volunteerism and community awareness has made Nutley so special. In 1995, the couple was presented with the 23rd Dr. Virginius D. Mattia Distinguished Community Service Award.
Mrs. Bedford has dedicated her life toward supporting local and statewide community organizations, including the Nutley Family Services Bureau, Nutley Senior Citizens Housing Corp., Nutley Volunteer Emergency & Rescue Squad, Nutley Thriving Survivors, Planned Parenthood of Essex County, the Republican Club of Nutley and the Paper Mill Playhouse, to name a few.
Mrs. Bedford frequently and graciously opens her home for fundraising activities throughout the year – many residents look forward to the Lollipop party hosted each year by Mrs. Bedford, which is an event to raise money for local community organizations.
Mrs. Bedford also is a major supporter of the arts in the State and is the founder of the Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Scholarship, which recognizes exceptional accomplishments of students studying theater in college.
Sources: Mattia Award archives; Nutley Educational Foundation.
Buccino's book, Nutley Notables features profiles of residents who called Nutley home. It is available on Amazon.
Related Article: Nutley Matriarch Ruth Bedford, 101, Left the Community She Loved
TAPinto Nutley will continue to share stories and reflections of Ruth Bedford all week.