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  • Writer's pictureDan Russoman

Historical Society reflects on legendary life of Dot Cartica

Dan Russoman/THG Dan Benedetto (center) spoke on the life of Dorothy “Dottie” Cartica at the Historical Society of Hammonton’s (HSH) April 4 Speaker Series. He is pictured with HSH Honorary Trustee Bill Parkhurst (left) and HSH President Greg White.

HAMMONTON—Legendary field hockey coach and local icon Dorothy “Dottie” Cartica’s life was remembered and celebrated during the Historical Society of Hammonton’s Speaker Series on April 4 at the Canoe Club Senior Center at Hammonton Lake Park.

Cartica’s nephew, Dan Benedetto gave a 45-minute multi-media presentation about Cartica, highlighting a life that was robust and filled with joy.

“When we think about Aunt Dot, field hockey comes to mind right away, but there’s so much more. that I can share with you other than just field hockey. She was a Girl Scout, a pianist.

High school sports figure, NHS (National Honor Society) member, referee, co-owner of the Town House. Teacher, mentor. Friend to so many, but there is absolutely so much more about her. To my brother and I, she was simply Auntie. She was our fun aunt,” Benedetto said.

Benedetto went on to describe his aunt’s birth and upbringing, detailing her love of writing poetry and short notes, many of which he and his relatives found scattered around her house after she died in 2021.

“She was always writing notes to herself and to others,” Benedetto said.

In high school, Dottie was an outstanding athlete and student, and enjoyed performing in school productions.

After graduation, she worked in the family business at the Town House restaurant, built by her father (now Rocco’s Town House) on the corner of Third and Orchard streets.

She went on to teach and coach at St. Joseph High School, leading the school’s National Honor Society and helping produce school plays.

As a coach, Cartica helped start the St. Joseph field hockey program and quickly developed it into one of the best in South Jersey, winning multiple Cape Atlantic League championships as she was named Coach of the Year several times.

She remained close with childhood friends throughout her life and enjoyed getting together with them to celebrate birthdays or just to pass some time.

Throughout her life, Cartica was always involved in the community, both at St. Joseph and around her hometown.

She led the forensics club at St. Joe, was involved with Atlantic County Junior Miss, served on the town Recreation Committee and continued to coach field hockey until 1996.

In 23 years coaching, she amassed a record of 254-52-65, winning 16 Cape Atlantic League championships.

Later in life, she became secretary at St. Anthony’s Church and received several local awards and honors.

Benedetto spoke about his aunt’s notes and combing through her belongings following her death, recalling memories of a life well-lived. He closed his presentation with some kind words about his aunt.

“[T]his remarkable lady will undoubtedly be classed as one of Hammonton’s legends and will hopefully be remembered for many, many years to come. She was an amazing woman. And going through these boxes, looking at these, these items and things like that, she surprised me. There were things in there I found I didn’t know, but the secrets continue, and it amazes us all. And she’s a remarkable woman,” Benedetto said.


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