• Donna Brown

Remembering friends, a class birthday party and more



Bob Bauers, retired New Jersey State trooper, passed away last week. Bob and his wife, Lynn, were long time members of the Hammonton Presbyterian Church. In their mid-20s, they began teaching a rather large teenage Sunday School class, of which my husband was a member. They not only conducted a Bible study class each Sunday morning, but also connected with the teens through an evening youth group where the young people shared their difficulties in navigating high school and learned life skills.


The teens confided in them and kept them as lifelong friends. Bob and Lynn taught the class for over 20 years. They had a profound influence on my husband’s spiritual life. They taught Al the fundamentals of Christianity, but even more taught him to live a Christian life.


Bob was an elder, a leader in the church and a very active member of the Presbyterian Church Choir for as long as I can remember. Bob was also on the Buildings and Grounds Committee for decades and could be found on the roof fixing gutters, in the boiler room working on projects and answering the call to repair anything found in need.


When Bob’s wife died several years ago, Bob knew the necessity for the leaking flat roof on the Christian Education Building to be rebuild. Bob donated the cost of a new A frame roof to be built in Lynn’s honor.


On Sunday, August 28, the church will dedicate their service to Bob Bauers and honor his devotion to the church family. Everyone in the community is invited to join us as we remember Bob at the Hammonton Presbyterian Church, at 326 Bellevue Avenue. It will be held at 11 a.m. with a reception following. Please join us.


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The Hammonton High School class of 1970 will be holding a 70th Birthday Party for class members and their guests on Saturday, October 8 at Annata Wine Bar, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Due to COVID-19 the class missed out on their 50th reunion so this event is very important. For more information, please contact Susan Esposito at susieq110@comcast.net or Donna Brown at wescoat@comcast.net.


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Last Saturday my husband and I joined the friends and family of Bill Roeschen to remember and honor his life. Bill and my husband have a long history and recently sang in the Presbyterian Church choir together. My first memory of Bill was as a teenager in about 1967 when Bill was the new manager to Furlow’s Five and Ten. There was a sidewalk sale in front of the 5 and 10 and I purchased three 45 records for a dollar. I didn’t know the songs but purchased them based on the titles. I remember buying “Beep Beep” by The Playmates, a 1958 song about a little Nash Rambler. It was adorable.


A year later I remember going to Furlow’s and was purchasing fabric, a pattern and a sewing basket which I couldn’t reach. Bill climbed up a ladder to get it and was very kind. I always went to both Furlow’s and Grants on the White Horse Pike to buy Simplicity patterns. Both had wonderful fabric remnants that were reasonable at 99 cents a yard, and I found I could make a mini skirt with half a yard.


In 1976 I was still a fan of Furlow’s, and I was then teaching at the Hammonton Middle School. My sixth grade class was going on an after school trip to the YMCA in Vineland for a January pool party. In the ‘70s trips were an important part of the curriculum. At the last minute I found out that the girls had to wear bathing caps, which no one had. So, I went to Furlow’s and asked if they had any. Now keep in mind it was January. Bill said he’d check in the basement and came up with a dozen bathing caps and saved the trip.


Bill became a handyman after Furlow’s closed their store and soon was building additions and remodeling houses. My husband had quit college and in 1980 needed a job. Bill Roeschen took Al under his wing and taught him so much. Though Al went back to college and had a career in education, Bill enabled us to have the life we have now, and we will always be grateful.


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Sometimes I ramble, sometimes I whine. I love writing for The Gazette, but I am never sure as a writer if people are listening or care. At Bill Roeschen’s memorial service I met a fascinating woman, Claudia Coulter. She was with my friend, Carol Capelli, who I shared many enjoyable years within the Hammonton High School band. Claudia, who has a permanent smile, told me how much she enjoys my ramblings, and I want to thank her for making my day with her compliments.



Donna Brown is a former Hammonton Middle School librarian and a columnist for The Gazette. To reach Donna Brown, send an email to wescoat@comcast.net.