A group of 15 late members of the greater Ramapo College community were honored Wednesday afternoon at the school’s Annual Remembrance Day Ceremony. The event included a memorial to each honored person, read by College President Dr. Peter Mercer, moments of silence, a bagpipe-lead procession, and the dedication of a newly planted tree to the deceased honorees.
“The tree marks the memory of these people, who left such an impact on this college and this community,” Mercer said as family members and friends of each of the departed honorees were asked to water the tree in memory of their loved ones.
The ceremony, which the college has put on every year since 2005, honored the memory of former students, faculty and staff members, trustees, and other community members who contributed to the college in some way.
Former Ramapo College student Corporal Kevin Reinhard, who was killed in the line of duty this January, was one of the honorees. The 25-year-old Marine was one of six killed in a helicopter accident in Afghanistan. According to Mercer, Reinhard “felt the need to serve his country, and interrupted his studies [at Ramapo] to enlist in the US Marine Corps.”
Another Ramapo student who tragically lost his life earlier this year, Jacob Halle, was also honored at the ceremony. Halle, a 22-year-old from New City, NY, was killed this February in a head-on collision on Route 202, not far from the entrance to Ramapo College. Mercer described the student as “a steadfast observer and critical independent thinker.”
Also honored at the ceremony was late Mahwah Mayor Richard Martel, who died last March after battling a reparatory illness. Mercer called Martel “an excellent example of so many of the values we treasure at Ramapo, especially service to one’s community.” Martel served as mayor of the township for 14 years, as well as on numerous other boards and organizations as a volunteer.
The ceremony also honored the following friends of Ramapo:
Richard Anisfield – Dick was a donor to the school’s business school, student scholarships, faculty fellowships and other aspects of the college. The business school is named for Anisfield, whose wife still serves on the Ramapo College Foundation Board of Governors.
Barbara Keeler – Barbara worked as a clerk at the college from 1980 to 1994. Mercer said she is remembered as a “warm, inviting” person.
Fran Coppola Livreri – Fran worked at Ramapo for 17 years as a computer programmer. Mercer said she loved being on campus, her friends and family, and “more than anything else,” her daughter, Kerynne.
Fred Powell – Fred worked as a repairman and craftsman at Ramapo. Mercer said he could often be seen crafting handmade turquoise jewelry. “He was always good with his hands, and proud of his native American Heritage. If you go around campus today, you can still see remnants of Fred’s work,” Mercer said.
Eleanor Helen Roes – Eleanor was involved not only in the college where she worked as a clerk, but also in the Mahwah and greater community. She also served as a county committeewoman, and was involved in the Mahwah Women’s Club, Republican Club and Senior Citizens Club.
Marilyn Sacchi – Marilyn worked at Ramapo’s payroll department for 20 years. She is remembered for her dedication and friendliness, Mercer said.
Sarah Bernhardt Stulik – Sarah worked as a speech professor at Ramapo, and was very active in the local theater community. She wrote, directed, and acted in productions, and was a member of Actors Equity. Mercer said students remember her as a professor who really cared for her students.
Katherine Talbird – Katherine worked at Ramapo as a clerk and statistician, and was eventually promoted to assistant Vice President in Business Services. She was extremely determined, Mercer said, and a member of the College Foundation’s Honor Roll for her contributions to the school.
Florence Josephson Thomases – Florence was a founding member of the College’s Board of Trustees, and was involved with the college since it was first founded. She donated to the school throughout her life, and continues to do so through endowed scholarships and faculty awards.
Steve Warren – Steve served as Comptroller of the Ramapo College Foundation beginning in 2006. Mercer said he will be remembered as someone who had a thirst for knowledge, and who always tried to foster a love of learning in others.
Judy Webster – Judy began a relationship with Ramapo in 1983, when she and her husband purchased a property next door to the college. She was a member of many foundations and volunteer groups on and off campus, and will be remembered for her generosity, enthusiasm and smile, Mercer said.
Ed Zarnock – Ed served on the Ramapo College Board of Trustees. Ed was an advocate for quality education and workers’ rights. Mercer said he was always concerned with what was best for the students and faculty at the school.