Horses

Longtime NJ Horse Park Volunteer, Bernie Wolek passes away

A rider competes at the Horse Park of New Jersey on the cross country course. Credits: Lillian Shupe

HOWELL, NJ - Longtime Horse Park of New Jersey (HPNJ) volunteer Bernard S. “Bernie” Wolek, Jr. passed away Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 at Jersey Shore Medical Center. He was 65.

Born in Bayonne, Wolek retired from Verizon after 40 years of service, where he worked as a fiber optic splicer for Verizon. An avid outdoorsman, he loved to hunt and fly fish. He was a member of the NRA and was named the HPNJ’s Volunteer of the Year in 2016. Above all, Bernard was devoted to his family and loved his sons and grandsons.

His sister-in-law, Nancy Wolek, Millstone, a former member of the HPNJ Board of Trustees, recalls that the Wolek family grew up with horses and Bernie rode when he was younger. “The entire Wolek family is involved with the HPNJ. Once retired, he had extra time to volunteer,” she said. “He just loved being around horses.”

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Wolek was a mainstay at the Jersey Fresh Three-Day Event, where he served over the years as a ring steward, area steward, timer and starter for the lower level events. “He wore all the cross-country hats,” said Nancy Wolek. Last year, he and his identical twin brother, Daniel – who was recovering from a broken femur – worked the horse ambulance at the Jersey Fresh.

Wolek manned the Cookie Stop at the HPNJ’s annual fundraiser, the Turkey Trot and helped at the Eastern States Dressage and Combined Training Association’s (ESDCTA) shows. “His favorite job was dressage warm-up steward,” said Nancy Wolek. “There were three rings going and he would take care of it all.” His other volunteer efforts included the HPNJ’s Summer Fun shows.

Son of the late Bernard and Elizabeth Wolek, he is survived by three sons and a daughter-in-law, Jason L. Wolek, Jeremiah J. and Rachel Wolek and Jonathan Wolek; his grandsons, Jacob and Rowen; his twin brother and sister-in-law, Daniel and Nancy Wolek and nieces and nephews, Daniel, Emily, Brian and Christopher.

A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 14 at 1 p.m. at the Horse Park of New Jersey.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Wolek’s name to the Horse Park of New Jersey, 626 Route 524, Allentown, N.J. 08501.

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