Pictured left to right are the 2017 inductees for the RBR Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame: RBR teacher Cassandra Dorn; Red Bank Middle School Vice Principal James T. Pierson; Dr. Erin Curtis, Optometrist; Sergeant Joey Fields, Red Bank Police Department; Dr. Carol A. Penn, physician family medicine, and Ramona Johnson, special education teacher, Newark NJ public schools.
Press release from Red Bank Regional High School
On the morning of April 28, an annual highlight of spring took place once again at Red Bank Regional High School,when the BUC Backer Foundation inducted six RBR graduates into its Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame.
State Senator Jennifer Beck, Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna, Red Bank Councilman Michael Whelan, Shrewsbury Mayor Donald Burden, and Little Silver Councilman Daniel O’Hern were among the friends, family members and community neighbors who gathered in the school’s theatre to celebrate the contributions of this year’s honorees. The inductees were introduced by the RBR Buccaneer Newspaper students, who wrote bios on the alumni for a commemorative journal, and musical accompaniment was provided by the piano majors of RBR’s Visual and Performing Arts Academy. The festivities continued with a celebratory luncheon catered by the RBR culinary students.
Daniel J. O’Hern, a son of Red Bank who was its mayor through a period of social unrest and later served almost two decades on the New Jersey Supreme Court, died Wednesday night at his home in Little Silver.
The Star-Ledger reports that he died of metastatic brain melanoma.
“Dan O’Hern was the quintessential gentleman who represented Red Bank so well in so many aspects,” said Mayor Pasquale Menna, who said he was inspired by O’Hern’s example to pursue public service.
Noting the racial strife of the late 1960s, when O’Hern was a borough councilman and, starting in 1969, as mayor, Menna said O’Hern “led the borough at an exceedingly difficult time, when there was great social friction.”
When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968 and many towns and cities braced for the kind of violence that had erupted in Newark and elsewhere, O’Hern marched down Shrewsbury Avenue with local ministers and citizens in a peaceful memorial, Menna said.
Through sit-ins and noisy council meetings, “it was always a mark of his sensitivity that he was able to keep the tensions so that they did not rise to a level of civil strife,” Menna said.