Our History

The first meetings were held in the Hillsdale train depot in 1873 ...


Hillsdale Methodists began holding regular Sunday morning services in the railroad director's room on the second floor of the depot on December 24, 1873. Good preachers were engaged and an organ obtained to aid in the singing. The following February, a 'Grand Concert" was given by friends in the depot meeting room for the benefit of the church group, at which about $200.00 was raised. The Hillsdale United Methodist Church was formally organized by the society on Sunday, May 3, 1874 under the name 'Hillsdale Methodist Episcopal Church' by the Rev. John E. Switzer of Allendale. Those serving on the first official board were Isaac I. Cole, Abraham A. Post, Simon Mead, James S. Ruckman, James J. Monfort, Robert Boyd, Abraham A. Hopper and Charles Marsh. 

The First regular pastor was the Rev. Elam M. Garton who was appointed in 1875. A joint pastorate was maintained with Park Ridge until 1876; and with Middletown (Pearl River), until 1899. The original church was built in 1876 on a plot of land at the southwest intersection of Hillsdale and Magnolia Avenues donated by David P. Patterson. The first parsonage, was located at 355 Hillsdale Avenue, was built in 1884 and served as the residence of the pastors until the present parsonage at 339 Hillsdale Avenue was acquired in 1955. 


The old church, built in the Victorian style of that period, was enlarged in 1911 and later modernized. The church consisted of a rectangular shaped sanctuary, about 30 by 30 feet in size, with a square entrance vestibule and belfry at the northwest corner. The first seats were wooden pews which seated four. The pews were all detached and could be rearranged and grouped for Church School classes, and removed entirely when the auditorium was used for suppers and fairs.Heat was supplied by a hot air furnace, and light from kerosene lamps set in wall brackets. In September of 1889, the first bell was purchased for $120.00 provided by private subscriptions. When it was rung for the first time on Tuesday, September 17, 1889, it could be heard a mile away. It was described as having a remarkably mellow and deep tone for its size. (That bell hangs in the front of our church today.) Horse sheds were erected at the southwest part of the plot, facing to the east, to which a carriage drive led from Hillsdale Avenue. A frame privy stood near the south side of the church.

The final service held in the old church was Good Friday, April 8th, 1955. The first service in our current sanctuary, located across the street, was held a few days later on Easter Sunday, April 10th. 


The old church building was sold in 1961 to the Fulton Temple Association. But before the deal was completed, the building was damaged by fire. As a result, the building was razed, the church maintained ownership of the property as the new parking lot. 

The new building was subsequently enlarged by the addition of an auditorium and church school facilities in 1960, and by a further educational area in 1967. 



Our Donor Recognition Tree

For those who would like to make a special monetary gift to the church and be recognized, or recognize a loved one, on the donor memorial tree, print and fill out the Donor Recognition Tree Gift Form and make your gift payable to Hillsdale United Methodist Church with "donor memorial tree" in the memo. This is a significant way to support the legacy of our church, while looking forward to future ministry.

Ministers of the Hillsdale United Methodist Church 

1946-1950 Carl J. Conrad
1946-1946 Archey Decatur Ball
1941-1946 Joseph D. Short
1939-1941 Earl L. Hampton
1932-1939 Thomas D. Walker
1927-1932 Harold N. Smith
1922-1927 Charles S. Hunt
1919-1922 George Okeson
1915-1919 Joseph A. Heard
1911-1915 William Burd
1909-1911 Davis W. Clark Ramsey
1902-1909 Gardner Howland
1889-1902 Lewis T. James 
1875-1889 Elam M. Garton 

2012-Present Brian Neville
2007-2012 Frank W. Kowar 
2001-2007 Mark H. Earl
1992-2001 Robert E. Davidson
1987-1992 C. David Follansbee
1981-1987 Barrie T. Smith
1975-1981 Robert L. Gue
1971-1975 Lawrence Richards II
1963-1971 Robert J. Payne
1957-1963 John R. Dexheimer
1950-1957 George F. Jackson
1950-1950 James Purman Shook
1949-1950 Richard C. Swift

The Legacy of Those Who Have Died

We remember our loved ones every year on All Saints Day

Grief is a strange thing ... 

like the waves on a lakeshore, bumping against a floating boat dock. The water is dark and not-quite-clean.

The waves like the after thought created by some loud boat that passed by, far off, moments ago, unaware of the disruption it is sending off in its wake. There is no clarity, no reasoning with it - it is just part of life lived near the edge of the water. The sun comes out, the water is warm, fun fills the heart with adventure and happy memory. Or all is quiet on a rainy day and the soft murmur of the slow wave pushes the dock against the mooring, sometimes a splash, often not - just a nudge that thuds and reverberates, unwanted pressure felt throughout the body of the poor soul who happens to be sitting nearby.

by Lisa Michelle Schoelles, 2014
for my sister, Carole Zulli - October 3, 1947-December 8, 2013

William J. Weaver, 89, of Westwood, NJ, passed away on Thursday, February 11, 2016. He was born in Emerson, NJ to William and Thelma Weaver. Beloved husband of Caroline Weaver. Devoted father of Bette J. Francis, Mary Kellner and her husband Kenneth, William J. Weaver, Jr. and his wife Suellen, and Scott Weaver and his wife Elizabeth. Dear brother of Betty Cooper and her husband Jim. Loving grandfather of Barbara, Richard, Devyn and her husband Rob, Brian, Lindsay, Stephen, Scott and Megan. Cherished great grandfather of Cameron. Bill had worked for the Coca Cola Bottling Company and subsequently the Bill Weaver Beverage Company. Bill was an avid golfer, a member of the Hillsdale United Methodist Church and a 60 year member of the Westwood Elks, Lodge #1562. He was a proud veteran of our country having served in the United States Coast Guard. The family will receive their relatives and friends at Becker Funeral Home, 219 Kinderkamack Road, Westwood, NJ on Sunday, February 14 from 1-5PM. The family will gather at the funeral home on Monday, February 15 at 10AM prior to leaving for the committal service at Westwood Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made in Bill's name to either Hillsdale United Methodist Church, Westwood Elks Lodge # 1562 or the NJ Veterans Home, Paramus, NJ.

John Maxon, age 90 of Nanuet NY, died on January 11 2016. John was a long-time member of the Hillsdale United Methodist Church Bowling League, and a beloved friend of the church who loved attending our Easter sunrise services and brought great joy and enthusiasm and coaching to all our bowling teams. He will be dearly missed. He is predeceased by his sister Dot Mockle.








Rev. Robert (Bob) E. Davison, died on Wednesday, December 23 2015.  Our church family is saddened by the loss of our beloved Pastor Bob Davidson. And, in sharing our grief with each other, we are sharing our stories of a celebration of his life. Our prayers remain with Marj and the entire Davidson family, yet we are heartened that he was able to spend Christmas with Jesus this year because Christmas was always a special time of year for Pastor Davidson. Here are some of our stories:

To Bruce, Bob was, with the grace of God, inherently spirit-led, kind, understanding, joyful, respectful, compassionate, exuberant and humble. These attributes led, in turn, to him being a good listener, good mentor, supportive ally ... and being fondly remembered.

June felt that he truly had an open heart, open mind, and open door because people could approach him with some advice for him, and he’d truly listen and pray on the words. For example, when his sister was ill with cancer, he was afraid to visit her for he did not know what to say. But when June, who was also diagnosed with cancer, told him that he must visit his sister – Pastor Davidson went to Valley Hospital to learn how to speak with cancer patients, so he could visit his sister, and he shared the experience with the congregation.

He was the pastor who first encouraged Fred to build a church website and launched Hillsdale United Methodist Church into a new age of technology. And after he moved away, Pastor Davidson stayed in touch with our church through the website and Facebook.

Pastor Davidson was amazing with children. When Christopher was quite young, Tammy noticed him chewing gum through service. Mortified, she asked him where he got the gum, and the young child responded “Jesus gave it to me!” He thought Pastor Davidson was JESUS! Known for always carrying a pack of Trident, Tammy gave him a silver gum case with his initial engraved as a retirement gift.

Alida feels that it was because of Pastor Davidson that she became a Methodist. She came to a service and was greeted by his glowing smile, and invitation to stay. She loved that Bob and Marj and the Davidson family became close friends, and each year stayed in her Cape Cod condo.

Pam first came to Hillsdale United Methodist Church to see if this could be a spiritual home for her and was surprised by a visit from Bob soon after, which led to a long friendship and amazing growth for Pam and her role in the church.

Suzanne remembers Bob walking Lauren down the aisle the day she was baptized. It is a treasured moment and another reason that Hillsdale United Methodist church has become her home.

Long before our Longest Night Winter Solstice service of comfort and healing, Pastor Davidson held a “Blue Christmas” service for those who are unhappy during the holidays.

Terry had the honor of being Lay Leader when the Davidsons first came to Hillsdale and they hit it off right away, thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to work together. Joanna and Terry had the pleasure of meeting them at the lake at Panther Valley for picnics and the occasional round of golf (which he won with ease). Always a pleasure to be with - always working behind the scenes to help the church run smoothly.

Lois says, Pastor Davidson was a true disciple of Jesus Christ, who inspired countless others to be good stewards of God’s love - who lived his faith every day of his life. He was a friend and pastor to the Kohans. They met him in Midland Park where he held Lois’ grandmother in his arms as she passed away. He remained close to their family, and performed many baptisms, joined them for dinners and occasions, and traveled on many destination weddings where he performed the wedding services. They love him and Marj and will miss him dearly. He strengthened their faith in many many ways.

On Christmas Eve day, as Carlee and Cindy were driving past the church, they were reminiscing about how Pastor Davidson got the congregation to do a living nativity one year. We all dressed up as shepherds or wise men or Mary and Joseph and took shifts standing out on the front lawn on the freezing cold evenings of Christmas week. Only Bob could convince us to do something like that. Carlee and Cindy got the call about Bob’s passing just moments after reminiscing about this. Cindy thinks he is still watching over our church. He was much loved and will be greatly missed. There is not another one like him! 

After moving to River Vale from Teaneck in 1998, Bob and Terry decided that they wanted to find a church in the area for their family. They really didn’t know where to start but knew they would find the right place. One day, casually running errands, Terry drove by Hillsdale United Methodist Church and I felt a “tug on my sleeve” to stop and see if there was

anyone there. Terry walked down the hall toward the office and Pastor Bob popped his head out of the parlor where there was a meeting going on and he asked if he could help her. She told him she was looking for a church having recently moved to the area. He was so warm and kind from the first moments they met in the hallway. He took her name and phone number and said he would be in touch. And, sure enough, they heard from him shortly thereafter. Pastor Davidson came to their home, formally introducing himself to Terry and Bob, telling us about Hillsdale UMC. He was so personable and genuine right from the start, sincerely interested in getting to know them without making them feel pressured in any way about attending or joining the church. At the same time, Pastor Davidson made them feel that we would be very welcome to be part of the church family should they be interested. He was always supportive, showing us the way to developing “servants’ hearts” as Christ calls us to do. Pastor Bob is the reason Terry and Bob joined Hillsdale United Methodist Church and have so many great friends there today. We have wonderful memories of his wonderful God-centered spirit. We thank Jesus that he tugged on my sleeve that day 17 years ago to stop into Hillsdale United Methodist.

There are so many fond memories that Doreen has of Pastor Davidson. She will always remember his smile, his laughter, his voice that wonderful voice, and his kind heart. His sermons were such that you could always relate to them. He will always mean the world to my family and myself. He married Frank and Doreen, christened both their boys, and he was there for my dad in his final days and for my family when my dad passed. Doreen was truly blessed for knowing him.

Ray remembers Pastor Davison at Ray’s audition for music director at Hillsdale United Methodist Church. Ray played "Cannon in D" when he finished Pastor Davidson said "You just played my favorite piece!" He always made Ray feel comfortable and like he belonged!

Rev. Robert E. Davidson, Sr. passed away on December 23rd at the age of 81. He battled multiple myeloma and numerous complications over the past several months, and is now at peace. His wife and members of his family were with him in the end. He served in the ministry for nearly 60 years, having fully retired only at the end of last year. 

Robert V. Nixdorf ("Bob") - July 7, 1929 - October 9, 2015. 86, formerly of Hillsdale, NJ, passed away peacefully on Friday, Oct. 9, 2015 at Mill Pond Senior Living in Park Ridge, NJ. He is predeceased by his loving wife of 45 years, Katie. Bob is survived by his younger brother Richard and by his loving children, Dorothy Sleeth and husband Les, Katherine McGinnis, John Nixdorf his wife Lisa, Jane Pavlu her husband Michael and Carol Nixdorf and husband Stephen Cattabiani. " Pa", as he was affectionately known, was greatly loved by his 11 grandchildren; Joseph and Christina McGinnis, Lorraine, Dan, and Kurt Nixdorf, Michelle, Dana, Noelle, and Haley Pavlu, Ally and Katie Cattabiani. Bob worked as a Computer Programmer with Met Life for 42 years. He loved the Jersey Shore and was always down for a visit to Atlantic City. Bob took great pleasure in dining out with the family. He always had a funny story to share and would laugh along with everyone else at the table. He will be dearly missed by all who were lucky enough to know him. Visiting will be Monday, October 12 from 2 to 4 pm and 6 to 8 p.m. at Becker Funeral Home, 219 Kinderkamack Road, Westwood, NJ. Relatives and friends are invited to attend a service celebrating Bob's life on Tuesday October 13 at Hillsdale United Methodist Church at 10 AM. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory to Hillsdale United Methodist Church would be appreciated.

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Helen J Mueller (Devlin), 89, September 4 1926 - September 20 2015. Beloved wife of the late William H. Devoted mother of Steven and his wife Sandy, Barbara Loschmann and her husband Charles, Tracy Unger and her husband Glenn. Loving grandmother of Matthew, Heather, Craig, Marrissa, Kaitlin, Ashley and Chelsea. Great grandmother of Ryland and Rowan. Born in Queens, NY, she lived in Pearl River, NY before moving to Hillsdale. Helen was a Registered Nurse at St. John's Hospital, Queens, NY. She was a very active member of the Hillsdale United Methodist Church. A service celebrating Helen's life was held on Friday, 11:00 am at Hillsdale United Methodist Church. Interment Westwood Cemetery.  Clck here to view her obituary and slideshow 

Click here to listen to celebrations of Helen's life:  Pastor Brian, Rev. Pam, Ellen, Judy

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Betty Follansbee, November 23 1931 - September 17 2015.  Rev. Dave Follansbee was the Pastor here between 1987 and 1992. His beloved wife Betty passed away peacefully with her head resting on his shoulder.  A Memorial Service on Saturday, October 17th at 11:00 am at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 99 Peirce Street, East Greenwich, Rhode Island 02818. If you would like to send a card, his address is 29 Cedar Pond Road, Apartment 2, Warwick, Rhode Island 02886.

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Richard H. (Dick) Englander, May 18, 1929 - Sep. 13, 2015, 86, of Sarasota, FL, formerly of Hillsdale, New Jersey.  Richard Englander, former Mayor, City Councilman, and County Commissioner of Hillsdale, NJ, and 34 years of service with Bell Telephone, died September 13, 2015. He is survived by his children Cynthia, Steven and Lauren Englander, daughter-in-law Wendy, grandchildren, Spencer, Sierra, and Lilian. Richard is predeceased by his wife of 58 years, Carol and their eldest son, Ricky. Richard will be remembered most for his servant leadership first in the US Navy and throughout his life with volunteer and elected roles and most importantly as a family man and friend. The family appreciates supporting a cause their Dad felt strongly about, www.Compassionandchoices.org by sending an email to your State Lawmakers.

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Allan Edward Atchison, October 2, 1925 - August 28, 2015
Born Friday, October 2, 1925 in Newark, NJ to Robert Thurston Atchison (1988) and Mildred Roberts Atchison (1978). Married Anna Bernat, March 25, 1951(1997). Devoted father of Judith Anne Atchison of Hillsdale, NJ and Shirley Atchison Liakos and her husband Peter A. Liakos of Naples, FL. Dear brother of Ruth Rice, Esther McEntee, the late Glen R. Atchison, Shirley Fisher, John R. Atchison and Arlene Johnston. Married Alma Parker Brunson 1998 (2011); step-father to Bonnie, Steven, Janet (2007), Beverly, and Ralph.

Allan was a graduate of Chatham High School, Newark College of Engineering, Montclair State Teachers College and did additional graduate work at various universities. He was a Teacher, Administrator, Principal, and Assistant Superintendent in the Hillsdale Public Schools from 1950 to 1984.

Member of Hillsdale United Methodist Church where he served as Sunday School Superintendent and trustee; past member and Chairman of Hillsdale Recreation Commission; past President of Hillsdale Community Chorus; Boy Scout Troop 108, Scout Master, Committee Member and Institutional Representative. Past Co-Founder and Team Manager of Hillsdale Babe Ruth League; Director of Men's Softball League; First Director of Hillsdale Adult School; Co-leader of Girl Scouts; Hillsdale Ambulance Corps, President; Treasurer and Trustee of Hillsdale Public Library; Recruiter for 1990 U.S. Census Bureau; Director of Hillsdale Teen Canteen; Volunteer at Pascack Valley Hospital; American Legion Post #162; Veteran of WW II, Army Air Corps.

Allan enjoyed woodworking, travel, camping, reading and sports. A Memorial service was held at the Hillsdale United Methodist Church, Hillsdale, NJ on Wednesday, September 2, 2015 at 10 AM . Private Burial at Restland Memorial Park, East Hanover, NJ. Arrangements by Becker Funeral Home, Westwood, NJ. In lieu of flowers memorial gifts to the Hillsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps or Fire Department, 340 Washington Avenue, Hillsdale, NJ 07642 would be appreciated.

Click here to listen to Rev. Brian Neville witnessing to the Gospel & Life of Allan Atchison

Click here to listen to the American Legion honoring Allan Atchison's service

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Gerald Henry Merkle - December 1, 1921 - March 29, 2015

Gerald Merkle, 93 of Hillsdale passed away peacefully on March 29, 2015. In 2010, Jerry was preceded in death by the love of his life, Irma Anderson Merkle, whom he married on May 7, 1944. Jerry was born in Oradell, NJ on December 1, 1921 to Ethel (Blauvelt) and Henry Merkle. After graduating from Westwood High School, Jerry attended Officer Candidate School, joined the US Army and served four years during WWII in places such as Italy, North Africa and Virginia. He was in the Army Reserve and retired as a Lt. Colonel and was a past Commander of Ralph W. Lester Post #130 VFW. Jerry graduated from Rutgers with a degree in Accounting and spent most of his career in various positions at SST Corporation from which he retired in 1987 as their Treasurer. He is survived by his loving children, Pamela Butler of Farmington, CT, Gerald A. Merkle and wife, Grace, of Poughkeepsie, NY and Holly Bosley of Hillsdale, NJ. Also survived by eight grandchildren and seven great grandchildren as well as his sister-in-law, Virginia Ross, Township of Washington, NJ. Jerry was a loving husband, a wonderful father and grandfather, who will be truly missed by his family. 

Robert Charles Kanwisher, Jun 14, 2015

Robert Kanwisher, 74, of Washington Township, passed away on Sunday, June 14, 2015. Beloved husband of Debra (Ginetto). Devoted father of Gary, Gail, William, Karen and Stephen. Dear brother of the late Bette Lee. Loving grandfather of 11. Born in Englewood, he was raised in Hillsdale before settling in Washington Township in 1985. He graduated from the Pascack Valley High School in 1959 and continued his education graduating from Boston University in 1963.  In 1970, Robert became the owner of the Burton Insurance Agency located in Westwood. Robert was the founder of the first School Board Insurance Fund. He has been the Executive Director of the Northeast Bergen County School Board Fund since 1983. In addition, he was the Executive Director of the Pooled Insurance Fund of NJ and the Morris Essex Insurance Group. Robert was President of the Independent Insurance Agents of Bergen County in 1976 and a lifelong member of the Elks. Robert enjoyed most sports especially coaching baseball, relaxing at the beach home, watching the Yankees, NY Times crossword puzzles, and salt water fishing. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Heart Assoc. , PO Box 417005, Boston, MA 02241 or American Diabetes Association , 1701 North Beauregard St., Alexandria, VA 22311.

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Bette Lee Kanwisher, June 3, 1938 - March 19, 2015

Bette was a resident of Township Of Washington, and a longtime member of Hillsdale United Methodist Church.  A private funeral was held and our prayers remain with her family.

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Phyllis Joyce Pfranger , 82, March 16, 2015

 She was born in Jerome, AZ to Victor and Marguerite Bongard. Beloved wife of the late Carl Pfranger. Devoted mother of Stephen Pfranger and his wife Deborah of Utica, NY, and Margaret Pfranger of Hillsdale, NJ. Dear sister of Barbara Rodgers, Victoria Dobson and Victor Bongard. Loving grandmother of Carl Pfranger and Amy Dineen. Phyllis is also survived by four cherished great grandchildren. Phyllis had worked for Xerox Corporation, Blauvelt, NY. The family will receive their relatives and friends at Becker Funeral Home, 219 Kinderkamack Road, Westwood, NJ on Wednesday, March 18 from 2-4PM with a service beginning at 3:30PM. Memorial gifts may be made in Phyllis' name to P.E.O. Sisterhood, 3700 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50312 www.peointernational.org.

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Fred Hoffman.jpg

Rev. Frederick D. Hoffman, 88 - March 7, 2015

Retired Elder of the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference, and friend of Hillsdale UMC, passed away on Saturday, March 7, 2015 at Landon Place of Keene NH  with his family at his side.  He was born in Shamokin, Pa., son of George and Verna (Haas) Hoffman. He was publicly schooled until graduating from Scranton Technical High School.  He served in the U.S. Navy Seabees in the Pacific during World War II.

Upon his return he continued his education at Keystone College and Wilkes University and ultimately received his Master of Arts in theology from Boston University. He entered the ministry with his first congregation in Troy at the Trinitarian Congregational Church. After time in New Hampshire, he moved to northern New Jersey, joined the Greater New Jersey United Methodist Conference, and served in many towns throughout his long ministry.  He will most be remembered by his family and friends as infinitely patient and kind.

Survivors include his children, Deb Leopold and husband, Ross, of Johnson, N.Y., Stephen Hoffman and wife, Carrie, of Keene, Paul Hoffman and wife, Allison Riley, of Keene; and four grandchildren, Kayla, Alexandra, Emma and Sam, all of Keene.  His beloved wife of 57 years, Joan (Prall) Hoffman, died in 2010.

A funeral will be held Saturday, March 28, at 11 a.m. in the Strauch Funeral Home, 602 Birch St., Scranton, Pa., with burial immediately after in the Abington Hills Cemetery.  Visitation will be held the same day at 10 a.m. in the funeral home (www.strauchfuneralhomes.com).

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Mr. Hoffman's name may be made to St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, 605 Herbert St., Scranton, Pa. 18505, or to the United Church of Christ, 23 Central Square, Keene 03431. click here to read his obituary

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Brian H. Smith - May 30, 1977 - February 15, 2015 (Doris Smith's grandson)

Brian was born on May 30, 1977 and passed away on Sunday, February 15, 2015.  Brian was a resident of Hackettstown, New Jersey at the time of his passing.  He is survived by his wife Dawn.  The funeral will be held 11:00 am on Saturday, February 21 at Cochran Funeral Home, 905 High Street, Hackettstown, N.J. with Pastor Terry Herzberg officiating. Burial will be in Pequest Union Cemetery, Great Meadows following services.   Visitation hours will be Friday, February 20 from 2-4 and 6-8 pm at Cochran Funeral Home, Inc., 905 High Street, Hackettstown, N.J.

For those desiring, donations may be made to: Labrador Retriever Rescue, Inc., P.O. Box 654, Tewksbury, MA 01876 or SOS Beagle Rescue, 814 Judith Lane, Atco, NJ 08004 or to Gethsemane Lutheran Church, 409 E. Baldwin Street, Hackettstown, NJ 07840 in memory of Brian.

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Elsie Mary Katherine Logan - February 7, 2015 at age 90

Passed away at Sunrise Assisted Living in Old Tappan, NJ, on Saturday, February 7, 2015, Elsie (nee McDonald) Logan at the age of 90.  Beloved wife of the late John Douglas Logan.  Loving mother of William Logan and Jane Thomas (Richard). Also lovingly remembered by her niece Sheila Kirsch and family.  A Funeral Service will be held in Canada on Tuesday, February 17th. Interment.

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Helen T Stalter - November 23, 2014 at age 91

Helen, born in Fairmont WV, was the beloved wife of Elwood "Woody" Stalter for 67 happy years. Devoted mother of Beverly Benson and her husband Charles Heimerl, Betty Stalter and her husband Don Schollin, Chip Stalter and his wife Carol. Dear sister of Betty Lattanzi. Loving grandmother of Eric and his wife Beth, Amanda and her husband Billy, Brian and his wife Elyse, Jennifer, Evan, Colleen, and Charlie. Cherished great grandmother of Sophia, Sam, Joshua, and Timothy. She is survived by many loving nieces

and nephews. A special thank you goes to her caregiver and loving "niece" Annette Ciringione. Helen was a member of the graduating class 1945 of West Virginia University. She was an active member of Hillsdale United Methodist Church and a member of the United Methodist Women. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made in Helen's name to the Hillsdale United Methodist Church Memorial Fund.

Click on these links to listen to some of the memories of Helen: Rev. Brian Neville, Marion Lozier, Bill Griffeth, Rev. Pam Pierce, Mike Lavitol, Helen's nephew, and Chip Stalter.

Click here for her full obituary and a slideshow of memories.
Click here for a poem for Helen, written by Doris Smith, November 2009 

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Lisa Michelle Duran - November 28, 1975-November 5, 2014

We are truly and deeply saddened by the death of Lisa Duran, November 5th, after a 7-year battle with brain cancer. She was a friend and a beloved member of our faith community when she lived in Hillsdale.

She had courage and beauty and deep faith. Lisa earned a double Master's Degree from NYU & Hunter College, and she studied abroad in Sydney, Australia. She was a teacher in the Emerson NJ and New York.

City Public School systems. Lisa was affiliated with many organizations, including Voices Against Brain Cancer, Fred's Team for Cancer Research, NY Roadrunners Club, and Rivertown Runners. Two additional causes close to Lisa's heart were the ASPCA and the Arbor Society. She was a loving and caring mother to her son, Aiden Dunn, and is survived by her parents, extended family and many many friends.  Click here to read her obituary.

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John "Pop" Kohl - October 29, 2014

Please keep the Kohl and Kohan families in your prayers as they mourn the passing of John Kohl.  He died October 29th with all his children present.  He will be having an army service with the Masons in Pittsburgh, PA on November 1, 2014. 

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Muriel Pfeifer - October 23, 1921-October 23, 2014

Muriel Pfeifer passed away on her 93rd birthday, peacefully in her rocking chair in her bedroom at her home.  Muriel was a beloved member of our church and a member of our Caring Ministry.  Muriel generously requested that her body be donated for science research. A memorial service was held on November 29, 2014.  Click here to listen to the words of Jim Pfeifer, spoken by Rev. Brian Neville.  Click here to listen to the words of two of Muriel's granddaughters. 

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Sybil Speake  October 5, 2014

Pat Martin's mother, Meredith, Alyssa, and Jillian Martin's grandmother

Sybil, 78, was born in Arrochar, Scotland and came to the US in 1958. She was a homemaker. Sybil was a member of the Christ United Methodist Church in East Rutherford, the United Methodist Women, the East Rutherford Fire Dept. Ladies Auxiliary, the Carlstadt Woman's Club, a volunteer at Angel's Attic in Carlstadt, past President of the East Rutherford PTA and a former member of the Becton Regional Board of Education. Beloved wife of the late Stuart Speake. Loving mother of Patricia Speake Martin, Glenn W. Speake, Richard Lee Speake and Diane E. Main and her husband Alexander. Cherished grandmother of Meredith, Alyssa and Jillian Martin, Candice, Patrick and Andrew Speake, Cameron Main and great-grandmother of Conallen Speake and Amelia Bonet. Dear sister of Patricia Leech and the late Sidney Leech.  A Celebration of Life Service was held 10am, Saturday, Oct 11th at Christ UMC, East Rutherford, NJ. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Di Speranza Healing Ministry, a support group for women with cancer, 1083 Washington Ave N, Old Tappan NJ 07675

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Nancy Everett  passed away June 11, 2014  Our prayers are with Nancy's family.  Nancy requested there be no memorial service in her honor, but she remains in our hearts.

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Beverly C. Taup  July 7, 1940 - May 23, 2014

Beverly C. Taup, 73, of Alden, MI passed away Friday, May 23, 2014 at Cherry Hill Haven in Traverse City MI. Beverly was born July 7, 1940 in Bay City, the daughter of Edward and Alvina (Walz) Carlin. Beverly graduated from Bay City Junior College and Western Michigan University with a Teaching Degree. She taught third and fourth grade in Midland, MI before becoming the Director of Hillsdale United Nursery School in Hillsdale, NJ for over 20 years. She loved working with the children and making a difference in their lives. She enjoyed gardening, taking long walks, playing tennis, traveling and spending summers on Torch Lake. She was an active volunteer with Friends of the Alden Library and Grass River Natural Area among other organizations. Most of all her pride and joy was her family. On April 10, 1965 she married James Taup in Bay City, MI. She is survived by James; her two daughters, Megan (Philip) Leary of Westfield, NJ., and Amy (Robert) Maloof of Hoboken, NJ; brother, Roger (Peggy) Carlin of Black River, MI; four loving grandchildren, Katie Leary, Emily Leary, William Maloof and Nicholas Maloof. She will be greatly missed. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Alden District Library 8751 Helena Road, Alden, MI 49612 or to the Alzheimers Association P.O. Box 96011, Washington, DC 20090-6011 

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Marilyn Mae Somerville  October 12, 1924 - March 31, 2014

Marilyn passed away on Monday, March 31st at the age of 89. She was a resident of Wakefield RI. She had previously resided in Park Ridge and Hillsdale NJ. Before retiring, she was a substitute teacher at Pascack Valley H.S. for over 3 decades. She was a 1944 graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, OH. She was predeceased by her husband Stanley (Slim) Somerville in 1992. She is survived by her 6 children: Brad Somerville; Greg Somerville; Lynn Catanio; Kevin Somerville; Kim Wolckenhauer; and Dale Loomis. She is also survived by 11 grandchildren and 3 great-grandsons. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to: Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island, 143 Main Street, Wakefield, RI 02879. Click here to read her full obituary.

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Gloria Dile Brush  March 26, 1922 - April 24, 2014

Beloved wife of the late Harold F. Brush. Devoted mother of Wayne Brush, Su McAteer and Glenn Brush. Loving grandmother of Gary, Jeff, Erin, Michael and great-grandmother of Hunter, Brianna and Lorelei. Gloria was a volunteer at Pascack Valley Hospital for 23 years, a member of Hillsdale United Methodist Church, and the Oder of The Eastern Star Chapter 164. 

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Voula Kokenes, Christina Fanelli's mother - March 10, 2014

Voula (Meleteas) Kokenes, 84 of Hillsdale, NJ passed away on March 10, 2014. Born in Kalamata, Greece, she came to the US in 1948, lived in Brooklyn, NY and settled in Hillsdale in 1997. Prior to raising her family and being a homemaker, Voula worked as a seamstress for many years. Voula was patient and content with life - a woman who loved to cook and maintain her garden, growing tomatoes and herbs. She also loved to cut coupons and make her weekly trips to Shop-Rite. She was predeceased by her husband, Chris Kokenes in 1995; her daughter, Marianne Kokenes-Livathinos in 1996; her brothers, Angelo, George and Panagioti Meleteas; her sister, Maria Vavaroutos; her sister-in-law, Rothame Meleteas and her son-in-law, Michael Hewitt. Voula is survived by her daughters, Diana Hewitt, Susan Kokenes and Christina Fanelli and her husband Robert and her grandchildren, Andrew, Christine, Alex Livathinos, Michael Hewitt, Jr., Annie Collins, Gregory and Jennifer Fanelli.

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Dorothea "Dottie" Aldridge - March 6, 2014

Dorothea "Dottie" Aldridge, 88 of Hillsdale passed away at home on March 6, 2014. Born in Union City, NJ, she has lived in Hillsdale for 50+ years. Dorothea was a secretary for Motorola C & E Division in Glen Rock, NJ before retirement. She was a 55 year member of the Order of the Eastern Star of New Jersey as well as a past grand officer. She was a member of the Hillsdale United Methodist Church, the United Methodist Women and the Caring Ministry. She was the treasurer of the tenants association of Hillsdale House and a past advisory board member of Temple Assembly #32 International Order of Rainbow for Girls in Westwood, NJ. Dorothea was predeceased by her husband, Walter Aldridge; her brother, John Schulze and her sister, Mildred Michielsen. She is survived by her daughters, Joan Sharma, Ruth Ann Romano and her husband Tom, and Dorrie Simon and her husband Robert; her brother, Robert Schulze and his wife Ruth; her grandchildren, John Keizer, Jason Keizer and his fiancé Talia Galentine, Robert Romano and his fiancé Keri Bennett, Jennifer Romano, Kristen Sweder and her husband Paul, Michelle Schaffner and Rachel Schaffner; her great grandchildren, Emily Keizer, Aiden, Wyatt, Paige, and Connor Sweder as well as many nieces and nephews.  Memorial contributions may be made to the Caring Ministry c/o Hillsdale United Methodist Church, 349 Hillsdale Ave., Hillsdale, NJ 07642 in Dorothea's memory.

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James Baker, Kelly Kennedy’s father, James Baker, passed away last February 14, 2014. Jim was the owner/manager of Jim's Sunoco in Nanuet, NY from 1956-1983 before moving to Ft. Pierce, FL, working and retiring from St. Lucie Co. School bus garage, finally retiring in 1997 and moving to Walton, NY in 2001. He served in the US Air Force during the Korean War, and was a member and ex-Captain of the Pearl River Hook & Ladder Company #1 for 51 years. He was an 11-year member and commissioner for Trout Creek Fire and EMS. Memorial donations may be sent to www.fisherhouse.org or Trout Creek Fire and EMS, Trout Creek, NY. Click here for the full obituary.

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Margaret Alice Christie, 95 of Newport News, VA, formerly of Hillsdale NJ, died on January 14, 2014.  Beloved wife of the late Cecil Mortimer Christie and devoted mother of Patricia Bensen Hertzler and Tod Stephens Christie. Born in September 21, 1918 in Brooklyn, she graduated form Smith College in 1940 with a B.A. in Mathematics. Before retiring, she and her husband were the owner/operators of the Old Dominion Motel in Middletown, VA. She also worked as an office supervisor for the US Census and as the relocation director at Alba Johnson Real Estate. She was a member of the Hillsdale United Methodist Church and the Hillsdale Sundial Garden Club. Margaret was active in community service, as a Sunday School teacher, Girl Scout leader, Cub Scout den mother, member of the Valley & Pascack Valley Hospital auxiliaries, Hillsdale House Advisory Board member and Trustee, member of the United Methodist Women and the Treasurer of the Hillsdale United Methodist Church, among others. She was a Master Gardener and an avid reader, enjoyed traveling, collecting family photographs, and doing needlework. Most of all, she enjoyed being surrounded by her family. In lieu of flowers, donations to Margaret's memory may be made to either the Hillsdale United Methodist Church or the Hospice of Virginia Foundation, 1700 Bayberry Court, Suite 300, Richmond, VA 23226. Click here to listen to Margaret's eulogy, written by her son, Tod. 

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H. Theodore Stempel "Ted", 76 of River Vale, NJ passed away on January 12, 2014. Born in Trenton, he lived in Clifton before moving to River Vale in 1968. Ted served in the National Guard and graduated from Bloomfield College and earned a Masters Degree from William Paterson University. He was an Eagle Scout, he served as the Scout Master for Troop 335 in River Vale, and he received the Silver Beaver Award. Ted taught for 28 years at Christopher Columbus Jr High in Clifton. He was predeceased by his wife of 52 years, Joyce, and his brother Robert. He is survived by his daughter, Cynthia Janke and her husband Raymond; his son, Alan Stempel and his wife Nancy, and his two grandchildren, Keeley and Remy Stempel. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ted's memory to the Hillsdale United Methodist Church.  Click here to listen to Ted's family and friends witness their love and admiration of Ted.

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E. Joyce Stempel, 74, of River Vale, NJ passed away on December 18, 2013 at her home. Born in Paterson, NJ, she lived in Clifton, NJ before moving to River Vale in 1968. Joyce was a registered nurse at Dunroven Nursing Home in Cresskill, NJ. After her nursing career, Joyce was an administrative assistant for CSI in Montvale, NJ. She was a previous president for the River Vale Friends of the Library and was involved in the River Vale Boy Scouts. She is survived by her husband of 52 years, H. Theodore "Ted" Stempel; her daughter, Cynthia Janke and her husband Raymond; her son, Alan Stempel and his wife Nancy and her two grandchildren, Keeley and Remy Stempel. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Joyce's memory to the River Vale Friends of the Library or Hillsdale United Methodist Church.  Click here to listen to Joyce's family and friends witness the beauty and grace of Joyce.

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Savena Knauer, 96, of Old Tappan, NJ, passed away on Monday, December 9, 2013. She was born and raised in Hillsdale, NJ and spent most of her life in Woodcliff Lake, NJ. Beloved wife of the late Erwin R. Knauer. Devoted mother of Erwin Durie Knauer and his wife Holly. Loving grandmother of Carrie Wiederholz and her husband Christian; and Becky Knauer. Cherished great grandmother of Lorelai, Avery and Finn. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews. Before retiring, Savena was an Elementary School Teacher with the Park Ridge Board of Education.  

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Nancy Dvorschak, died November 19, 2013. Beloved daughter of the late Carl K. and Marguerite Dvorschak, and loving sister of the late Thomas J. Dvorschak, Nancy is survived by uncle Donald Phillips, aunt Dorothy Rydell and many loving cousins.  Nancy was a bowler, an avid reader, a lover of cats and the NY Mets. She was a very devoted daughter and sister as she cared for both mother and brother during their lengthy illnesses. Family members and friends will sorely miss all the greeting cards which were faithfully sent by Nancy to commemorate every event in their lives.

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Pete Bruger, son of Rev. Pat and Carl Bruger

Peter Joseph Bruger, 38, of Dumont, died Sunday, November 3, 2013.  He is survived by his adoring parents Pat and Carl Bruger, and loving siblings: sister Cassandra and her husband Jeffry Cudlin, sister Lynne and her husband Brian Rutigliano, brother Christian "Kit" and his wife Keisha.  He will be greatly missed by a host of other family and dear friends including his best canine pals Odin and Thor.   Pete was a 1993 graduate from Dumont High School where he was a proud captain of the wrestling team and County Champion.  He later went on to earn his AA in Criminal Justice from Valley Forge Military College (1996).  Pete proudly served as an Army Ranger Combat Medic with Special Forces top clearance and high-altitude jumping skills in the 82nd Airborne Division of the US Army before his 2002 honorable discharge.  He was a member of Disabled American Veterans.  His time in the armed forces helped to develop his interest in medicine.  He returned to school to earn his BS/MS from Seton Hall University and went on to be an Orthopedic Physician's Assistant.  Pete was an ardent fisherman and active member of the Hudson River Fisherman's Association (HRFA).  Pete had a great love for angling for salmon, sharks, and tuna, and was a passionate sports fan and movie buff.  All who knew him saw his incredible strength, energy and zest for life and his loss leaves a tremendous void for loved ones.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to either CUMAC (PO Box 2721 Paterson, NJ 07509 or www.cumacecho.org) or HRFA Youth Angler Fund (PO Box  421  Cresskill, NJ 07626 or www.hrfanj.org)  


John Kucks, a beloved friend of Hillsdale United Methodist Church, and father to Rebecca Gattoni and Laura-Jean Arvelo, died October 31, 2013.  Click here to view his NY Times obituary.  Click here to view his Daily News obituary.


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Elwood "Woody" Stalter,  December 8, 1924 - July 19, 2013

Our friend, Woody Stalter, has passed. Woody was among the dearest of people and a leader of our church. Those who knew him well know that the Lord has made a special place for him.

Thomas Theilmeier, 52, of Hillsdale, NJ, passed away on Saturday, January 26, 2013. Beloved husband of Cathyann Theilmeier. Loving and devoted father of Wilhelm and Myron Eiji Theilmeier. Cherished son of Ruth Theilmeier and the late Alois Theilmeier. Dear brother of Michael and David Theilmeier.  The family requests that memorial donations be made in Thomas' name to: Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation, John Theurer Cancer Center, PO Box 417290, Boston, MA 02241-7290 

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Bill Moore, a beloved member of Hillsdale United Methodist Church, died January 1, 2013.  Born in Ridgefield Park, NJ, he lived most of his life in River Vale.  Bill was a mechanical engineer for the Pipe Fitters Union Local 274. He was a WWII Navy veteran, a member of the Hillsdale United Methodist Church, a member of the Westwood American Legion Post #206, and a member of the Westwood Elks Lodge #1562. He is survived by his beloved wife of 67 years, Helen.

June Boullain, passed away October 3, 2012. June was one of the first people in our church to become involved with the Interreligious Fellowship for the Homeless (now, Family Promise). She was friendly, compassionate, warm and inviting.  June, who sang in the choir and taught Disciple Bible Studies, once observed the need for a "younger mother's" UMW circle and was instrumental in starting the Deborah Circle. She was a graduate from the Fashion Institute of Technology and was a designer for Manhattan Industries.

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Helen Cleveland, In remembrance of Helen, who touched our lives and remains in our hearts. She was always there to warmly greet us as we walk into the church. We will never forget her kindness and sense of humor. She surely was one of our angels.

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