Arts & Entertainment

Sparta's Outstanding Older American 2016 Honored at Knoll Heights Dinner

Honoree Carol Bull and her brother Rich Leary Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Councilman Gil Gibbs and Carol Bull Credits: JENNIFER DERICKS
Credits: Jennifer Dericks

SPARTA, NJ – The Senior Center at Knoll Heights was filled to capacity on Thursday to honor the Sparta’s Outstanding Older American.  Surrounded by friends, family and fellow volunteers, Carol Bull was the center of attention with a corsage and a seat at the front table.

Marianne Dilworth, Sparta Senior Citizen Coordinator made opening remarks after the singing of God Bless America.  The Invocation was delivered by Pastor Patrick Sileo of the First Presbyterian Church of Sparta. 

The meal of chicken Marsala, penne vodka, spaghetti and meatballs and salad, catered by Anthony Franco’s was served by Sparta High School Key Club members Ava Mederos and Nina Strowe, Jonathan-David Hawthorne, Chris Cole, Michele Hawthorne and Janice and Lindsay Williams. 

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Christian Arnold, Sparta Middle School band teacher was on hand directing the Sparta Middle School Jazz Band, providing musical accompaniment.

Dilworth explained Bull had been nominated by members of the Sparta Senior Advisory Committee.  They sent a letter of recommendation to the Sparta Township Council.  Mayor Christine Quinn and Councilman Gil Gibbs attended the dinner speaking a few words on behalf of the council.

Bull has a long history in Sparta Township, having been a resident since 1967.  She spent the last five years of her teaching career at Sparta High School.  She had taught Physical Education for more than 29 years at the Sussex County Vocational Technical School, now Sussex County Technical School.

Bull’s first year in town she was appointed to the Recreation Advisory Committee to serve as secretary, creating the Operations Manual still in use today.  Budget cuts led to the elimination of this committee for a brief time.  When it was brought back in 2011 by Councilman Gil Gibbs Ball was asked to reprise her role as secretary.  She remains an active member of the committee to this day. 

“Her excellent memory and past history have proven to be invaluable in keeping the township Special Events thriving,” according to the dinner’s printed program.

Bull has dedicated much of her life to enriching the lives of the children in her community.  She served as an unpaid chaperone for the fledgling ski program for students in grades five through eight when low participation threatened its existence.  This program is still thriving to this day.  She stepped up to lead Cub Scout Pack 82 when there was no Cub Master.  Bull chaperoned Mystery Bus Rides for the now defunct Teen Center.  She served as a volunteer to the Sussex County Technical School Project Graduation for 10 years until it was discontinued. 

An active and vital athlete, Bull participated in the Senior Olympics.  She also served as ambassador when the games were held in Sparta. 

Her connection to the Sussex County Technical School continues to this day. Ball volunteers to bake for the Tech Expo and packed baked goods from the school to send to workers at the site of the 9/11 tragedy and victims of Storm Sandy. 

Bull was married to “Tinker” Bull and has a son Michael.  He now resides in Colorado with his wife and two sons Paul and Luke.            

Bull remains active, traveling to sightsee and ski with her family.  She often joins the Sparta Seniors on the daily excursions, even chaperoning when asked.

On Saturday Bull was out in the cold rain at the pond at Station Park for the Trout Derby.  The weather did not dampen her energy as she greeted the young raincoat clad fishermen to the event.

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