Roxbury's Edward Gates; Vision Beyond Optometry

e593135948241ec831fe_642467782916d82e025b_Dr._Edward_Gates_and_wife_Flo_Gates..jpg
Edward and Flo Gates
e593135948241ec831fe_642467782916d82e025b_Dr._Edward_Gates_and_wife_Flo_Gates..jpg

Edward Gates had an auspicious beginning in 1924.

When his mother went into labor, she and Ed's father got into a Model T Ford to drive from their home in Jersey City to the hospital where she was due to be delivered in New York City.

They headed to the ferry slip only to find that they had missed the ferry and the next was not due for awhile. So, change of plans. They headed to Saint Mary's hospital in Hoboken but never made it.  

Sign Up for E-News

Ed was born in that Model T Ford! 

That was a big thing then, as there were not many automobiles around. Ed's birth made the front page of the New York Daily Mirror. Due to the publicity, his parents received a letter from Henry Ford himself congratulating them on the birth of their son in one of "his automobiles."

Many years later, having purchased a new Lincoln, Ed took his family to visit the Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. When Ed related the circumstances of his birth to the guides, he and his family received a private tour of the museum!  

In later years Ed had an affinity for collecting and restoring old automobiles. He became a member of the New Jersey Antique Automobile Association and enjoyed his hobby by participating in parades and events as he drove and displayed his antique vehicles.

As I write this some 92 years after Ed's birth, he is proud to still have a 1930 Ford Model A in his garage.   

Being born in that old Model T has had a lasting impact on him!

Ed was raised in North Bergen. When the United States entered World War II, Ed joined Navy and found himself in California being trained as a Navy Corpsman.

When the course was completed, Ed's class received its posting orders.  Ed's sent him on to the University of California - Berkeley Campus to take a course in optical dispensing to train him to provide glasses to Navy personnel.

I asked Ed if he knew where the rest of his training unit had been posted. As is still the case today, the Navy supplies combat Medical Corpsmen to the United States Marine Corp. Ed's entire class was assigned to the 5th Marine Division as corpsmen.  

The 5th Marine Division would, in time, take part in the invasion of Iwo Jima.  Fate, karma, whatever, Ed finished up his time in the Navy stateside at Mare Island Naval Base in California.

Ed was not only introduced to optometry at Berkeley, he also met his wife and lifelong partner, Florence, while there. Flo lived in New York City and was attending school at Berkeley. They married in 1946.

Ed and Florence would enjoy a 57 year marriage until her passing in 2003. They would have three sons, six grandchildren and now three great-grandchildren as well.

After the Navy, Ed and Florence returned to New Jersey. His time in Berkeley sparked his interest in optometry as did his uncle who was an optometrist. So Ed applied to and was admitted to the Illinois College of Optometry where he finished the four year program in three years using the benefits of the GI Bill.  

Upon his return from Illinois with his family, Ed sat for the N.J. State Board Exams for Optometry. Two hundred graduates took the exam. Sixty passed. And of those sixty only twenty had taken the exam for the first time.   

Edward Gates was one of them.

Gates began looking for a community in which to open his optometry practice  and was advised that the Town of Dover had room for an optometrist. He found a spot to lease and launched his career in Dover.

Now those of you familiar with this column are probably asking, 'Carl, this is all very nice and interesting, but aren't you supposed to be writing about 'Roxbury Notables? Where does this all fit in?'  

Well, after commuting to Dover for a while, Ed decided it was time to find a home near his practice. He looked around in nearby towns and found a place to rent in Succasunna. 

When Ed told Flo about his find, she was at first taken aback, where was Succasunna? To this New York City girl, now living in Jersey City, her husband was taking her and their family to the nether regions, which is exactly what he did in 1951 moving to a home on Eyland Place.

He and Flo would raise in Roxbury their three sons: Marshall, Victor (Bobby) and Bruce. The boys would attend Roxbury schools through high school.  

Marshall resides and has his law practice in town. Dr. Gates said he thanks his lucky stars that he was able to raise his children in Roxbury - good schools and a fine community.

After practicing in Dover for a while, Ed received some advice from his medical doctor to move his optometry practice to Roxbury, which he did while keeping the Dover office open for a few more years.  Gates would practice optometry in Roxbury for more than 50 years. 

He moved his family to a building on Main Street that would in later years be occupied by a funeral home.  Half of the living room was dedicated as office space and his family resided in the rest of the downstairs.  

In time he would build his own medical building and move his practice there.

He recalled helping out one family which had limited financial means. He remembered how, when he put on their young daughter the glasses he prepared for her, she exclaimed, "My gosh. These are wonderful. I can see."

Doc Gates also told me about being in the forefront of the contact lens movement.  He had a cousin, Harold Gates, in California, who was involved in the early development of contact lenses and Ed became the eastern representative of that movement and started proscribing contact lenses to his patients before any other optometrist in the area.  

Ed then became involved in the development of bi-focal contact lenses, all of which were well received by his patients.  

Gates joined the Tri-County Optometric Society encompassing Morris, Warren and Sussex counties, as well as the New Jersey Optometric Society and the American Optometric Society.   He has been named a life member of all three societies and he has served as president of the Tri- County and New Jersey Optometric societies. 

Gates was appointed to the New Jersey State Board of Optometry by Governor Brendon Byrne, where he was involved in the licensing and the continuing education of Optometrists.   

On Oct. 30, 2004, Gates was presented with the "Dr. E. C. Nurock Award" by the New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians, the highest symbol of recognition by the Society, which, in speaking of Gates said "Whose dedicated service to the Profession of Optometry, to His Colleagues, and To His Community Has Contributed Significantly to the General and Visual Well Being of the Citizens of the New Jersey."

Gates was a founder of Temple Shalom in Roxbury. As I was told the story, he and his family were members of a temple in Morristown which required a lengthy commute for services and for the schooling for their sons. Talking it over with Flo (and being asked by her ‘Are you out of your mind?’) they began the process in early 1960. Flo wrote a letter to the Union of American Hebrew Congregations inquiring as to how to begin.  

First, they needed ten families which they quickly acquired at a meeting in the Gates' home. Second, they needed the consent of the Congregation in Morristown to split from them; and, that was willingly and graciously given. 

The charter from the Union of American Hebrew Congregations was received and their first meeting took place  in the Gates' home. Gates was elected as the temple's first president, which office he held for two years, followed by Norman Goldblatt, another founder. 

Student rabbis were secured to lead the services since the congregation could not afford the salary of a full time rabbi for several years.  

First High Holy Day services were held at the Franklin school in town. By the time of the next High Holy Day services, the congregation moved to the Triple Lake Ranch hotel dining room, then located on Main Street, made available by congregant Eli Gaynor.  

Ed recalled that in the middle of services the loudspeaker announced that all those participating in horseback riding activity should report to the stable which gave the congregation a bit of a laugh.   

In time, land was acquired and what is the present temple on Hillside Avenue was built over the years in stages. Ed was proud to tell me that the temple has grown from the original 10 families to approximately 500. 

He served as a trustee of the temple for many years and also modestly told me that, in a recent expansion of the temple, a Founder's Hall was named in honor of himself and his wife in recognition of their many years of service.

Knowing that Gates had served on the Roxbury School Board, I asked him how that came about. It seems Norman Goldblatt from the temple was on the board as was Clifford Johnson who was a patient and friend of Ed. They approached him about running for a vacancy and he said OK. 

He was elected in 1967 and would serve until 1970. It was a busy three years as the Jefferson School, Kennedy School, Nixon School and the present high school were all in the process of being constructed.  

Roxbury was growing far beyond the small community Ed had moved into. He recalled that years later a retired President Richard Nixon came to visit the school named in his honor.

After serving on the school board, Gates was asked by Ed Hill to run for Roxbury Township Committee. Well Ed ran and won. I asked Gates about a political affiliation and he quoted Will Rogers: "I am not a member of any organized political party - I am a Democrat."

At that time there were five members on the committee, all elected at large. The mayor appointed Ed to the township Planning Board and Board of Adjustment.  

Roxbury was growing vastly at the time and many hours were put in by Ed and the other members in preparing for and hearing all the various applications for new construction coming before the boards in those days.  

Toward the end of Ed Gate's political career he served on a Charter Study Commission which led to the implementation of the present 7-person council system. The council met then in a building on Route 10 that would later become the police station.  

Upon the purchase of the Horseshoe Lake complex, which Ed was a part of, council meetings were held there. The Horseshoe Lake complex was owned at the time by Harry Chesler who sold it to the town. Gates described Harry as a "good guy," who was one of his first patients. "I want to be your first patient because I bring luck to people," Chesler told Gates, according to Gates.

It seems to me, considering all that Edward Gates has done over the years for his temple and the Roxbury community at large, Harry's words certainly rang true for Roxbury. 

When I asked Ed's advice about dealing with people, considering his many years in practice, his involvement in his temple, his service on the Board of Education and on the Township Council, he said, "Treat people how you want to be treated and you'll do fine."

Nice words to end on. Thank you kindly for your time and service Doctor Edward Gates!

Roxbury is full of special people. Longtime Roxbury lawyer, and former municipal judge, Carl Wronko highlights their lives and deeds.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Roxbury

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_e4687cd17f13a365e8a6_804d330f39c903a84d3e_rhs_fish_and_chips_dinner_flyer_2018

Fri, February 23, 4:00 PM

Eisenhower Middle School, Succasunna

Gaelvision’s Fish & Chips Dinner

Food & Drink

Carousel_image_4af6f3c12e40b4ea6bbc_argyle

Fri, February 23, 4:30 PM

Roxbury Fire Co. #1 Firehouse, Succasunna

Argyle Fish & Chips Dinner

Food & Drink Giving Back

Tue, February 27, 11:00 AM

Roxbury Public Library, Succasunna

Roxbury Area Preschool Fair

Education

Carousel_image_7c7e68a9a5cc694ad0ab_63d680b63901e13831fa_fay

Thu, March 1, 6:30 PM

Roxbury Public Library, Succasunna

Celtic Harp Concert

Arts & Entertainment

Columns

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...

AtlantiCast Medical Minute: Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center

On this episode of the AtlantiCast Medical Minute, we’ll take you inside the Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center, with the center’s director, Jason Lowenstein, MD.

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M7euCp86-c

AtlantiCast Episode 011

Breaking Atlantic Health System news on this week’s AtlantiCast! Plus, find out why Morristown Medical Center is one of the best hospitals in the nation when it comes to recovering from joint surgery, see the newest center for fighting brain cancer and an Atlantic Health System red-carpet premiere!

 

Sponsors of Roxbury's Best Journalism

Getting it Right From the Start; Roxbury Realtor Bob Idakaar

ROXBURY, NJ – Twenty years ago this month, Bob Idakaar experienced an unprofessional real estate agent. That’s when he decided to be a good one.

Idakaar, a lifelong Succasunna resident and TAPinto Roxbury sponsor, bought his fifth home in July 1997. A big event, one that could have been joyous, ended up being stressful and unenjoyable.

“I had a bad experience,” he ...

Roxbury Diner: Homespun Hospitality Through Thick and Thin

ROXBURY, NJ – Roxbury was being buried in snow March 14 and most businesses were closed. Not Roxbury Diner.

Roxbury Diner isn’t like most businesses.For co-owner Jimmy Dontas, a snowstorm – even a blizzard – isn’t a reason to suspend operations. Instead, it’s a call to action.

To many in town, Roxbury Diner – a TAPinto Roxbury sponsor – is ...

It Began With Filling Your Tank; Now They Fix Your Grandson’s Car

When we drive east on Route 10 through Roxbury, many of us might remember a Shell station at the Randolph border next to the golf range. It was in that station that Nancy and Peyton Knight began their long history of auto repair in the township.

That was 1983 and soon the Knights’ business grew and expanded. The humble gas station gradually morphed into a state-of-the-art ...

Orthopedic Urgent Care in Roxbury - Open Late and on Weekends

ROXBURY, NJ – It’s a pleasant Sunday morning, you’re playing volleyball in the back yard with the kids and – forgetting you’re not 17 anymore – you jump up to smack that ball.

Instead of feeling the satisfaction of an unanswered spike, you feel the stinging pain of a wounded ankle.

The only good thing about this scenario is that you live in Roxbury. That ...

Love of His Hometown Drives Roxbury Realtor Ted Miller II

ROXBURY, N.J. – Most local real estate agents can tell you what houses are for sale in Roxbury. Ted Miller can probably tell you what was there before the houses were built. 

Miller, a TAPinto Roxbury sponsor, grew up in the township and has watched it change from bucolic to bustling. The son of a local Realtor, ...

Three Sons at His Side, John Klein Makes Plumbing a Family Affair

ROXBURY, N.J. - Running water and a warm house during winter months are some of the most important amenities we enjoy -- and often take for granted -- in our homes.

With John Klein Plumbing & Heating, a TAPinto Roxbury sponsor, residents of Roxbury (and beyond) have a father-and-sons company they count on for reliable plumbing and heating services to keep the ...

Letters to TAPinto Roxbury

Roxbury Library Blood Drive Will Help 111 People

January 31, 2018

Dear Editor,

On Jan. 17, the Roxbury Public Library held its first American Red Cross blood drive. Despite snow and less than ideal driving conditions, dozens of area residents showed up to donate blood, nearly doubling the Red Cross' quota for the day! 

The drive was held in honor of local resident, Matt Adonis. Having a blood rive in his honor was a lovely way to bring awareness ...

Three from Roxbury Area Make James Madison Dean's List

February 19, 2018

HARRISONBURG, VA -- James Madison University is pleased to announce the following students made the dean's list for the fall 2017 semester:

Jordan Israel Taylor of Flanders .

Nicolette Thorkildsen of Flanders .

Olivia J Viparina of Ledgewood .

Students who earn dean's list honors must carry at least 12 graded credit hours and earn a GPA of between 3.5 and 3.899.

Totaro Makes Hofstra Dean's List

HEMPSTEAD, NY -- Julia Totaro of Mt. Arlington excelled during the Fall 2017 semester, achieving a GPA of at least 3.5 to earn a spot on the Hofstra University Dean's List.

Roxbury Area Students Named to the Marist College Dean's List

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY -- The following local students have been named to the Marist College Dean's List for the Fall 2017 semester:

Mariah Christian of Flanders is a member of the Class of 2018 and is majoring in Communication.

Jenna Ficula of Flanders is a member of the Class of 2019 and is majoring in Computer Science.

Erika Hofgesang of Kenvil, is a member of the Class of ...

Roxbury Area Students Make Clemson Lists

CLEMSON, SC - Kristin Elizabeth Agosta of Flanders has been named to the President's List at Clemson University for the fall 2017 semester and three other area students were named to the Dean's List.

Agosta is majoring in Accounting.

To be named to the President's List, a student must achieve a 4.0 (all As) grade-point average.

The three Roxbury ...

Roxbury Area Students Make Seton Hall Dean's List

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ -- Nineteen Seton Hall University students from the Roxbury area qualified for the Fall 2017 dean's list, according to the university. The students are:

Siddharth Bector of Flanders 

Nicholas Czipo of Wharton 

Gabriella DePiano of Ledgewood

Darrelle Dilangalen of Succasunna

Katherine Dolan of Flanders 

Kimberly Gong of Kenvil

Edward Guenzel ...

Roxbury's Sarah Derrick Makes Susquehanna Dean's List

SELINSGROVE, PA - Sarah Derrick of Roxbury was named to Susquehanna University's dean's list for the Fall 2017 semester.

The dean's list recognizes students who achieve a grade point average of 3.4 or higher out of a possible 4.0 for the semester. To qualify, students must complete a minimum of 12 semester hours.

Derrick, a business administration major, is a 2014 ...

Press Releases

Assistance Programs Available for JCP&L Customers to Help with Winter Heating Bills

February 13, 2018

MORRISTOWN,NJ - As the cold weather continues, financial assistance programs are available for Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) customers who need help with winter heating bills.

Assistance to qualifying JCP&L customers is available through the Lifeline, Universal Service Fund (USF), Weatherization, Payment Assistance for Gas and Electric (PAGE) and New Jersey SHARES ...

TAPinto.net Named Partner of the Year by NJ News Commons

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ -  TAPinto.net has been named Partner of the Year by NJ News Commons, a network of more than 230 news organizations across New Jersey.  The award goes to a journalist or news organization that showed overall excellence in their work for 2017.    

Joe Amditis, Associate Director of the Center for Cooperative Media, said TAPinto won the award ...