Thursday, May 15, 2014

Madge Geddis, Teacher in the late 1950's and early 1960's

Madge Geddis was a teacher at Stockton in the late 1950's and early 1960's, teaching 1st grade in her early years and later teaching 5th grade.

Below: Miss Geddis, a sophomore, in the 1953 Memorabilia, yearbook of New Jersey State College at Newark

From The Westfield (NJ) Leader, Thursday, July 18, 1963

From Drew University, 2007:
"It’s the stuff of which legends are made—how a romance between a field hockey enthusiast in Northern Ireland and an American schoolteacher brought a world-class turf field to Drew.
Jake Speers, who had been captain of the men’s field hockey team at Queens University in Belfast, met Madge Geddis when she visited Northern Ireland. After two years of marriage there, they moved to Scotch Plains, New Jersey. While Madge taught school, Jake worked in advertising, public relations, and publishing, first in New York City and then in New Jersey. Jake’s daily commute to North East Publishing Company in Chatham brought him past Drew, where he saw field hockey games in progress.
Methodist connections through his work put Jake in touch with then-Director of Athletics John Reeves. The two became well acquainted when Jake became involved with Drew athletics, attending soccer games and singing the National Anthem at Rose City Classic basketball games. Ultimately he asked permission to use Drew’s athletic field for field hockey. Under a new Director of Athletics, Richard Szlasa, Jake’s group, the Eagles, played weekly at Drew. The Eagles grew rapidly, offering training and competition and involving local young people, including many from Madison.
Although the Rangers and the Eagles were both playing great field hockey, there was one thing lacking: an all-weather field. Interest in a turf field became intense when a snowstorm moved a scheduled Division III championship game away from Drew. Not long thereafter, the national men’s and women’s field hockey associations saw their share of the 1984 Olympics profits as a chance to promote their sport in the United States,. They were able to offer $1 million if a location for a turf field could be found. Jake’s connections with both hockey and Drew made him the perfect person to bring them together, and the $3 million field was completed only two weeks before the World Cup trials in 1989. The University still remembers the intense excitement when 12 men’s teams from around the world, and hundreds of their supporters, converged on Drew’s United States Field Hockey Center for a tournament that sent its top six contestants to the World Cup in Pakistan.

Jake, who is still closely involved with the Eagles (now the Eagle Spirit), and Madge have moved a few miles to Mountainside, New Jersey. Drew’s excellent turf field is used for several sports, and we are grateful for the opportunity that grew from an international romance."

Below: Miss Geddis in the 1940 census when she was six years old, living with her family at 61 Sunnyside Terrace in East Orange (in the Elmwood Park area near South Orange Avenue). Her parents are shown as being born in Northern Ireland.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Thomas J Lyons

Thomas J Lyons was a teacher at Stockton from 1951 to 1963 where he initially taught 4th grade, then 5th grade, and, when Stockton added 7th and 8th grades in the late 1950's, Mr. Lyons taught in those grades. During that time, he took classes in school administration at Columbia University which led to his becoming an elementary school principal in the Roxbury Township school district in 1963, first at Franklin Elementary School and then, in 1969, at the newly built Nixon Elementary School. He retired in 1976.

photo courtesy of Mrs. Lyons

Mr. Lyons is still remembered over 55 years later by Stockton students as one of their favorite teachers. Some recent responses to his obituary from those students: "May he R I of my favorites at Stockton!" "He was a brilliant educator." "What a great teacher. Had him for 5th grade." "I liked Mr. Lyons a lot."  "I had him for 5th Grade as well. He was such a nice person."  "I had him for homeroom and science. Yes, a great guy." 

A student at Franklin Elementary in Roxbury writes "Mr. Lyons was the principle in Franklin School in Roxbury when I attended in the mid-1960's. Everybody loved Mr. Lyons. Nixon school was built in the late 1960's and it sounds like he moved over to the new school when it was built."

Thomas Lyons grew up in Hoboken and attended Demarest High School where he played basketball and ran track. After high school he entered the army and served in France. After leaving the army he attended Jersey City State Teachers College on the GI Bill. At college he played varsity basketball and baseball and was editor of the yearbook and the photography magazine. Upon graduation in 1951 he took a job at Stockton School in East Orange teaching 4th grade, commuting from Hoboken to Stockton on the Lackawanna. In 1953 he married and moved to New Providence, and in 1958 to Berkeley Heights. He retired to Sarasota, Florida in 1976.

From an online obituary: 

Lyons, Thomas J.
May 24, 1924 - Feb. 26, 2014
Thomas J. Lyons, 89, of Sarasota, FL, formerly of New Jersey has passed away. 
He was born in Hoboken, NJ, played many sports and served in the US Army in WWII. A man who always saw the positive in every person and situation, he was a lifelong educator: a teacher, a principal and an MCC reference librarian.
He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Catherine Barbara; son, Thomas W. Lyons; daughter, Kathy Felden and two grandchildren, Ryan Felden (fiancée Ashley Bergstrom) and Brooke Felden; 7 nephews and 1 niece.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Robert Ridgway Thomson, Physical Education

Mr. Robert Thomson divided time between Stockton School and Columbian School as the physical education teacher. He was affectionately known as "Mr. T" and many former students, even those who did not feel confident in PE, remember him as a caring and encouraging teacher.

Photo above and text below from the 1934 Panzer College yearbook

Below the 1934 Panzer College class prophecy (prediction) about Mr Thomson's whereabouts 10 years after graduation (1944). In a previous annual, Mr Thomson is listed as being from New Paltz, NY.

"Our trip is nearly complete except for two of my "cronies." "Prof." Thomson is a gym instructor in New Paltz High School and the champion of the cause of heavy apparatus and tumbling. In spite of the inability of his pupils to execute a one-hand stand, he still retains the old sense of humor."

Robert R Thomson retired to Orlando FL in 1968 and died there in 1997: 

ROBERT RIDGWAY THOMSON, 90, 1442 Pebble Beach Blvd., Orlando, died Saturday, May 10. Mr. Thomson was a physical education instructor. Born in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., he moved to Central Florida in 1968. He was a member of the Orlando Area Theatre Organ Society. Survivors: wife, Lois M.; daughters, Carole J. Rose, Norristown, Pa., Carol Dickman, Inverness; two grandchildren. American Family Cremation Society.

                                    Below: the badminton team in the 1932 Panzer College yearbook

Above: gymnastic team in 1932 yearbook
                                            Below: staff of the Springboard (newspaper) 1932

Below: a certificate signed by Mr. Thomson and Principal Shelly awarded to a Stockton student in Spring, 1959 (image courtesy of Seth McQuillan)

Ashland Oval

Below: Nov. 17, 1922, New York Tribune

As a tribute to long time Mayor Martens, in 1952 Ashland Stadium, where school games and events are held, was renamed Martens Stadium.

Thomas Edison

Above: Glenmont, Home of Thomas Alva Edison in Llewellyn Park, West Orange

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Popular Restaurants in the Area

Above: from the 1939 Panzer College yearbook

Above: Pal's Cabin

Above: Robin Hood Inn
Below: Friar Tuck Inn

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Franklin Hose Company No. 3

Franklin Hose Company No. 3 came into existence in 1884 when the 1825 Franklin School building was modified to become a fire house

In 1890 a brick firehouse was built on the SE corner of Dodd Street and Brighton Avenue.

Above: 1895 map

Below: 1911 map