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FAME AWAITS THEM

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Former Red Bank Mayor and state Superior Court Judge Benedict R. Nicosia leads a roster of nine graduates of Red Bank High School (or its successor, Red Bank Regional) into the RBR Education Foundation’s Hall of Fame Friday night.

Slated for induction along with Nicosia is a diverse group: a lingerie manufacturer; a fundraiser; a high school science teacher; a past commander of Fort Monmouth; a designer of race-car engines; an active police captain; a military technology specialist; a former RBR teacher of performing arts; and a fire department volunteer.

The honorees are:

Benedict R. Nicosia, class of 1939. Military veteran, assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor, mayor of Red Bank from 1963 to 1966, Nicosia is now semi-retired and living in Middletown.

Harold S. Komar, ’41. A World War II veteran, he ran Charles Komar & Sons, the Red Bank lingerie business founded by his father in 1908. Active in his temple and in the local arts community, he and his wife, Adelaide, were named Volunteers of the Year by the Jewish Family and Children’s Services in 2001.

Joanne S. Bennett, ’44. Longtime manager of development for the Monmouth County Organization for Social Service, now the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey, where she oversaw fundraising efforts, Bennett has been active in the Women’s Club of Little Silver for more than 50 years.

George A. Darragh, ’45. A resident Little Silver, where he served as mayor, Darragh was a high school science teacher, retiring in 1994. He’s a 58-year member of the Little Silver Volunteer Fire Company and charter member of the Little Silver First Aid Squad.

Otto J. Guenther, ’59. A long military career saw Guenther rise to the rank of three-star general and command of Fort Monmouth from 1992 to 1995. His area of expertise was information technology. Guenther now lives in Fairfax Station, Va.

Daniel H. Jesel, ’59. An engineer with a deep love of racing, Jesel’s first business was designing and selling race engines. Jesel Inc. eventually became a major supplier to NASCAR racers. Jesel lives in Colts Neck.

Peter DeFazio, ’70. Still a Red Bank resident, DeFazio serves as captain in the police department, where he’s worked for 32 years. A long list of safety-related volunteer efforts includes ties to the fire department and first aid squad. He has been honored by the borough for “outstanding personal bravery” and was a Firefighter of the Year.

Augustine J. (Augie) Ponturiero, ’80. Also a military man, he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1984 with an engineering degree and later retired from the Navy as chief of operations for the Defense Information Systems Agency before joining the private sector. He’s now a program manager for Northrup Grumman, lives in Leonardtown, Md., and participates in singing groups.

Elizabeth A. Seydell, ’77. A second lieutenant in the Red Bank Volunteer Fire Department, secretary of the Scuba Team and assistant advisor to the Fire Cadet Program, Seydell has been a special education teacher for more than 20 years. She lives in the borough and has been a member of the foundation since 2002.

Renee R. Maxwell. An honorary faculty alumnus, she taught performing arts at the high school for 34 years until her retirement in 2001. She lives in Long Branch.

The induction is the sixth annual for the the foundation, an independent, non-profit organization that exists to enrich and support educational programs for students and foster supportive private-sector relationships to serve educational needs.

The event is scheduled for Friday night at 6p at Branches, 123 Monmouth Road in Eatontown. Tickets are $60. For reservations, email Donna France or call her at 732-843-9160.

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