Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Ed Gillespie in New Jersey Monthly

From New Jersey Monthly, November 2004 - Garden Variety, p.27 Party Animal

NOT LONG AFTER GRADUATING from Pemberton Township High School, Ed Gillespie got his first job on Capitol Hil - parking cars in the Senate lot. This month, as chairman of the Republican National Committee, Gillespie hopes to drive George W. Bush back to the White House.

Gillespie, 43, whose father, Jack, until recently owned a tavern in Browns Mills, stands out from the suited spin doctors on America's political stge as a blue-colar guy. Well known in Washington as a skilled political strtegist, he's taken on the campaign role of Bush-adminstration pit bull.

After high school, Gillespie attended Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. (also the alma mater of Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe). Gillespie took the reins of the GOP in July 2003, and in the ensuing sixteen months helped the party set a presidential campaign fund-rasing record.

Earlier this year, at a church assembly on the campaign trail, Gillespie tapped into his roots. "Growing up in the southern-New Jersey-Pennsylvania area," he said, "I acquired a strong sense of family, work, neighborhood, and community."

When he completes his tenure as chairman, Gillespie plans to return to his own bipartisan lobbying firm, Quinn-Gillespie & Associates, which he co-founded with Jack Quinn, a former White Hosue counsel to President Bill Clinton.

- Bil Kelly

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Billy Hector at the Woodshed


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Deer Season 2008

Mike Maze, and his son Hunter, are the White Deer hunters of Browns Mills. Mike bagged his first white deer of the season, using a bow & arrow, and got a second deer, a white tail, with a week.

His son Hunter had the white deer buck he bagged last year mounted as a rug.

More to come as the season progresses.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Browns Mills Restaurant Guide


Belly Busters (Formerly J.C.'s) 98 Lakehurst Road. 609-893-7779.

Bo Bos Chinese at Country Lakes - Lakehurst Road. 893-1797

Brother's Diner I - 127 Trenton Road. (609) 893-5500 Fax: 893-6257

Burger King - Lakehurst Road. 893-9883

Domino's - 893-1600

Family Pizza - Lakehurst Road. 735-0500

Great Wall Chinese - Pemberton-Browns Mills Road. 893-1783

Hungry Piney - QuickStop Deli - 13 Pemberton-Browns Mills Rd. 609-893-0005 Fax: 893-0559.

Ju Ju's - Seafood & Soulfood Take-Out. 609-893-2020.

Ko Ko's -

McDonalds - Trenton Road. 893-6992

Number One Chinese - Lakehurst Road. 893-8868

Papi's Pizza - 558 Lakehurst Rd., Country Lakes Plaza. 609-893-5447 Fax: 893-3984

The Pub at Country Lakes

Riccardo's - Lakehurst Road. 735-0162

Roma Pizza - Browns Mills Shopping Center. 609-893-7760. All Mj.Cc.

Skip's (Formerly Franks/O'Brian's)

Sonja's - Trenton Road. 893-3629

Soprano's Pizza - Lakehurst Road. 735-9900


Anapa's Country House - Rt. #38.




Charlie's Other Brother -

Clarke's Tavern - 1291 Woodlane Road, Easthampton, N.J. 08060 (609) 702-1701


Bread From Heaven - Southern Resturant, 4 Mill St., Mount Holly, N.J. 609-261-4844. Sunday buffet 12 - 6pm.

Milano - By Lamberti

Wa Wa at Country Lakes

Wa Wa on Lakehurst Road


Old Columbus Inn - 24491 West Main Street, Columbus, N.J. 08022. (609) 298-4449. Fax:298-1703. All CC.


Janet's Main Street Cafe (aka "Buzby's"). 1st & Rt. 563 Chatsworth, N.J. (609) 894-0300


Allen's Clam Bar. Route 9, New Gretna, (609) 296-4106


Red Lion Inn

Monday, September 8, 2008

Cranberry Inn Rt.70 Nowhere, N.J.

From Super Mario's to the Cranberry Inn, Nowhere, New Jersey

The cook's last job was at Super Mario's, the Italian joint next to Fort Dix, which closed after the owner's son was accused of being part of a terrorist cell that planned on attacking soldiers at the base.

A sailor himself, Leon Hinkle is a Navy cook who prides himself on knowing how to cook, for two or two thousand. So after being derailed by the terrorist pizza cell in Wrightstown, he's shifted over to the other side of the base, and is now operating out of this yet to be named roadhouse in the middle of nowhere.

Actually it is closer to Lakehurst and the Navy base that is now linking up, both figuratively as well as geographically, with Fort Dix and MacGuire Air Force base, making the first Megabase.

Opening a bar-restaurant-take out joint near a big military base might sound like a good idea, but not so much so when you are fifteen miles from the closest gate. There are a few Pinies who live nearby, and the suburbs of the Jersey Shore towns aren't that far away, but to be successful, this place will have to become a destination for some, a popular half-way pit stop for others, and a pleasant surprise for those who stumble on it.

They want to call it the Cranberry Inn, but they haven't registered it with the state of New Jersey so there's no name on the sign out front that used to say Harrison's, a unique little roadhouse in the middle of nowhere, a Piney stage stop between Fort Dix/McGuire, Browns Mills and the Jersey Shore.

From Ft. Dix/McGuire/Browns Mills/Pemberton Gate, you go five miles east down Lakehurst Road, then five miles further east on Rt. 70, past Whitesbog Road, this joint is the only commercial establishment on the road that I could identify within ten or fifteen miles. It is in a place called Manchester Township, and that short five mile strip is known as a gauntlet for local police patroling for traffic ticket and DUI surcharges for the Township budget, so be carefull.

Like the Hedger House near Chatsworth, the old Doaks on the back Mays Landing Road, Brownies in Bargaintown, and a half dozen other ragged roadhouses that have survived, you have to make this place your destination, stop there going or coming from somewhere else, or stumble on it when your lost.

It doesn't look like much from the outside, but inside, after you get pass the rows of take-out beer, wine and liquor store, there's a real juke joint, complete with pool table and high wall, hardwood, ski lodge motif. The walls are so high in fact, there's a tables in a balcony that overlooks the bar.

There's some room out back too, for a barbeque, and plenty of room to park, so you know they've had some good bike runs here, regardless of who owned the place. Besides Harrisons, I heard that an old Marine owned it for awhile, and it seems to have a history that I've yet to dig up.

They opened three days previous, even though they weren't ready, and some of the people came back, including this retired guy and his friend next to me. They enjoyed their steak the other night but this time they get a seafood house scampi (shrimp, scallops, clams, lobster tail) in white wine sauce over linguine, and said they really enjoyed it. And it looked good to, especailly with the red wine to go with it. ($18.95)

I got a rib eye and it too was really good, medium rare, with a baked potato and salad that came in a $15.95.

They got some other fine dining stuff too - broiled flounder ($14.95), old fashioned meat loaf ($12.95), home made lasagne ($11.95), fettuccini Alfredo ($11), Gumbo ($13) and a Cranberry's Delight, of lightly dusted shrimp mixed in garlic oil, fresh basil and sun dried tomatoes over linguini ($15.95).

Don't let that scare you though, as they also have club sandwiches, burgers, hoagies, wings ($7), wraps and cheese steaks ($8), fried apps, really fine salids ($5-8) and kids menu.

It's a mix of Americana, steak, seafood, Italian and neoclassical Navy cafateria, and if not truely great, like my rib eye, I'm sure it's all really good.

Sitting with me at the bar, besides the two retired guys from the city, were two of the Bogs Boys and their gals, sizing up the joint for a possible gig, a place they've played before.

I thought I knew them from Albert Hall, and sure enough, they play bluegrass, and have a special night they jam at a joint not far away that they gave me directions to, and I promise to check them out.

Among the new owners, Dean was still running around getting things together, and Bob was running the bar, and there's also Gene and Joe, but the big thing they have going here, as far as I can tell, is Leon in the kitchen.

When I told Leon that I had run into him at JC's in Browns Mills, and he excitedly told me about opening this place, he remembered, "Oh, yea," and took me back to show me the kitchen, how small and compact it is, but everything you need for one person to cook really good, really fast.

It was just right, and everything was really clean, and back in storage and refrigeration, he showed me how organized it all was, and it really was, Navy template, clean and organized, just like aboard ship.

Well, Leon may not have been ready last Friday when they opened this place for the first time, but he's now got it together, so if you all want to come out and check out this joint, or if you are on the way down the shore or Lakehurst, the other end of the base, or if you're lost and just happen to stuble on it, THIS IS THE PLACE.

I can see it now, once it gets a handle, a great motorcycle run, some mean bluegrass by the Bogs Boys, a slew of really good meals and good times with new friends.

But you got to remember you got to run the Manchester Gauntlet to get back to the other end of the base, so be carefull.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Matt "Represents True Olympic Spirit"

Matt "Represents True Olympic Spirit"

US Shooter Gives Games Most Touching Moment - Olympic Chief Jacques Rogge;_ylt=ApjbN4CwQTS_ZzLBTxDc2BA5.3QA

Olympics chief Jacques Rogge on Sunday singled out the stoic attitude in defeat of U.S. shooter Matt Emmons as the most touching moment of the Beijing Games.

Emmons threw away a gold medal on his final shot when he nervously pulled the trigger a split second too soon.

It was a stunning blunder that echoed his defeat in 2004 when he lost a gold on the last shot when hitting the wrong target.

Rogge also said the sight of Georgian and Russian athletes embracing on the podium while their countries were locked in conflict was an embodiment of the Olympic spirit.

"I think this kind of sportsmanship and brotherhood is really remarkable," he said.

But what deeply moved Rogge was Emmons -- even if he confessed to reporters he could not remember the shooter's name.

"What touched me most was the attitude of this American shooter," Rogge told a press conference wrapping up the Games.

He recalled how Emmons picked the wrong target in Athens and threw away his gold medal chance at the last moment. "This is something already very painful," Rogge said.

Emmons may have missed the target but he found love in Greece. Czech shooter Katerina Kurkova came up to commiserate with him afterwards and their romance blossomed from there.

His wife won the first gold of the Beijing Games and Rogge said "I saw them hugging together and that was a nice moment."

But the fates then struck Emmons once more.

"Again leading and being very close to gold, he took his rifle, put his hand on the trigger and, for some reason, the trigger went off," Rogge said.

Hailing Emmons' resilience, the International Olympic Committee chief said he admired the U.S. shooter for saying: "This is a big failure. I take responsibility but I will come back and I will win gold."

Rogge said: "This is the true spirit of the Olympic Games. The Games is not only about winning, not only about being triumphant. It is about the struggle of every athlete every day to achieve his or her own limits and having this resilience.

"Let's hope he does come back."


No medal. Matt Emmons is the most helpless man with a gun since Barney Fife. I joke that the Chinese name for him is Wrong Way. He is the U.S. rifleman who is not good to the last shot. He blew sure-fire (literally) medals in 2004 and 2008 both on his last aim-and-fire. This guy ought to come with a two-minute warning. He eyes a target in Beijing, pulls a trigger and a window breaks in Tibet.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Matt Emmons Wins Silver Medal

From Hero to Goat and Back Again.

Matt Chokes, again.

One shot away.

Oh, No, Not again!

Losing with Style.

These Games have brought us graphic, vastly different images of individual despair, too.

Consider Greco-Roman wrestler Ari Abrahamian, triple jumper Hrysopiyi Devetzi and shooter Matthew Emmons.

Abrahamian, the Armenian-born Swedish grappler, had his bronze medal removed by the International Olympic Committee after kicking up a stink over the judging of his semifinal loss. He had to be restrained from body slamming the officials. These are men best argued with from a distance.

He clearly has not been reading his Rudyard Kipling lately, the bit about treating the twin imposters of triumph and despair with an even hand.

Consider next Devetzi. She hurtled down the track for her final leap, striving for the silver medal, if only she could squeeze out an extra few centimetres. She made a hash of it, whereupon she burst into tears and ran into the arms of her coach.

Soon after, the bronze medal secured, she was gallivanting round the National Stadium track, Greek flag draped over her shoulders doing cartwheels. Despair to delight in minutes.

And finally consider American rifleman Emmons.

In Athens, with the gold one half-decent shot away, he had a brain explosion, firing at the wrong target.

In the 50m three-positional event here, he had the gold in the bag again, if only he put the final bullet somewhere near the middle of the board.

Instead Emmons dropped a clanger, scoring a hopeless 4.4 out of 10, dropping him out of the medals altogether.

He got a standing ovation. Maybe the Chinese crowd knew his history and sympathised; maybe they were cheering because his boo-boo had given a Chinese shooter the gold.

"When I was getting on the trigger the gun just went off," the amiable Emmons said later with a "life goes on" demeanour.

So not a man you'd want on a hunting trip, then, but a likeable and popular chap who knows his Kipling.

- David Leggat

Cupid Takes Aim - SI - Brian Cazeneuve

Story Highlights
  • Matt and Katy Emmons have become the feel-good couple of the Olympic Village
  • Katy took home the Beijing Games' first gold in the 10 meters air rifle
  • Matt won gold in the 50 meter prone rifle event in the 2004 Athens Games
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
Katy Emmons (pictured with husband Matt) won the first gold medal of these games.
Katy Emmons (pictured with husband Matt) won the first gold medal of these games.
Bill Frakes/ SI

BEIJING -- Meet rifle shooter Matt Emmons, the luckiest Olympian in Beijing. Meet shooter Matt Emmons, the unluckiest Olympian in Beijing. Confused? So is Emmons. How come all these things keep happening to him? How can Tantalus pull Olympic gold out from under him twice, so he misses his most important shooting targets by a mile, while at the same meet, Cupid slings his arrows perfectly to make Emmons grateful for his misses? "I've had the ultimate highs and lows," Emmons says, "but when I put them together, I still feel blessed."

Here's why. Go back to Athens in 2004 when Emmons won gold in the 50-meter prone rifle event and was one shot away from winning gold in the three-position prone event. Emmons didn't need a perfect shot or even an average one, just a below-average one to maintain a three-point going into his final shot. Emmons sighted, aimed and fired at the wrong target. This was Jim Marshall running the wrong way, Freddy Brown passing the ball to James Worthy and Steve Smith stuffing the puck under Grant Fuhr. It was the day Bill Buckner ran into Lindsey Jacobellis and Eddie Hart showed up at 4:10 for his 4:05 heat of the hundred.

Emmons was known as a likeable, cheery guy and the line of sympathy for him after the competition practically extended out the door. Later that night, Emmons went to a beer garden where the first person to reach him was Katy Kurkova, a bronze-medal winning shooter from the Czech Republic who had said hi to Emmons a few times. A romance ensued, and the pair married in the Czech Republic last summer. "Everything happens for a reason," Emmons says. "If having Katy in my life is the reason for what happened in Athens, I'd cross-fire a million times."

Then this year, Tantalus showed up again. Matt had already won a silver medal in the 50-meter rifle prone, and Katy had won a gold and silver for the Czechs. Matt was leading the 50-meter three-position competition with one shot remaining. Again, he needed only a below-average score on the last shot to win gold. Instead, his gun went off prematurely and barely hit a piece of the target. Emmons had been scoring in the tens out of 10.9, with the prospect of an eight or nine fairly remote as well as he was shooting. "I was in my pre-shot routine," Emmons recalls. "I picked up my gun and came down from 12 o'clock into the target. As I was coming down, the gun just went off." Emmons recorded just 4.4 and slumped from first place to fourth on the last shot. China's Qiu Jian won gold.

Through his disappointment, Emmons again revealed himself as a fine sportsman. "I took 120 shots and then ten more in the final, and 129 of them were good," he said. "I can't let one moment ruin the beauty of the competition."

Afterwards, the people in the Czech house in Beijing, including the country's prime minister, threw a party for both Katy and Matt, and the minister of the interior offered to help Emmons become a dual citizen. The two have become media darlings of the Olympic village, calling to mind the marriage of U.S. hammer thrower Harold Connelly and Czech discus thrower Olga Fikitova in the '50s.

They have decided to keep competing, each with one eye on London as the other eye zeroes in on more targets. "By then," Emmons says, "I'm sure the reason for what happened in Beijing will reveal itself, too."

Browns Mills' Emmons blows gold on final shot mistake ... again

by M.A. Mehta/The Star-Ledger
Sunday August 17, 2008, 10:14 PM

Matt fell out of first place in the prelmininary round, and then screwed up the last round in the three stance 50 m and fell from second to fourth place, no medal.

I think he was paying too much attention to his wife.

He still has the gold from Athens, and the silver in the one stance, and his wife has a medal from Athens, and a gold and a silver from Bejing. That's some collection over one fireplace.

Congradulations to the Emmons family, and Browns Mills anxiously awaits another parade around the lake, like the one they gave Matt when he returned home from Athens.

This story isn't over yet.

And now its Brownsville, New Jersey.


August 2008

USA’s Emmons Mines Silver in Men’s Prone

Defending Olympic gold medalist in men’s prone, Matt Emmons of Brownsville, NJ, captured the silver medal at the Beijing Games. In an event where perfection is the norm, Emmons dropped a point in his first 10 shots and fired a 98 out of 100 in his third 10-shot string to finish the qualification round with a 597 out 600—two points behind Artur Ayvazian of Ukraine, the eventual gold medalist.

Yea, but he made up a point in the second round and lost by only one point. - BK


GoldArtur Ayvasian (UKR) 599103.7702.7
SilverMatt Emmons (USA)597104.7701.7
BronzeWarren Potent (AUS)595105.5700.5
4thVebjoern Berg (NOR)596103.1699.1
5thKonstantin Prikhodtchenko (RUS)595104.0699.0
6thValerian Sauveplane (FRA)594104.8698.8
7thJuha Hirvi (FIN)595103.5698.5
8thSergei Martynov (BLR)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Katerina Emmons Wins First Gold

Matt and Katerina Emmons are the darlings of the Olympics, with Katerina winning the first gold medal and then, as she won Matt's heart in Athens, she showed sympathy for her Chinese adversary, who was hounded by her hometown media.

More to come on this romance.


Monday, June 30, 2008

Matt Emmons World Champion Marksman

MATT EMMONS World Champion Marksman from Browns Mills, NJ

When I first read in the newspapers that Olympic gold medal marksman Matt Emmons was from Browns Mills, New Jersey, as almost all the news reports describe him, I knew he was either in the military or he was a Piney.

He's a Piney.

Browns Mills, you can imagein, even if you've never been there, is not that big a place. It is big enough however, for me to also live in Browns Mills, within a few miles of Matt and not know him. I know some of his family. There's a lot of Emmons around these parts.

After winning an Olympic gold medal in Greece in 2002, Emmons was set to win another, precident setting two gold medals. Shooting for another gold, one shot away, target in his sights, and he got a bulls eye, but in the wrong target.

So when all the stories went out from Athens about the gaff, it was Matt Emmons, from Browns Mills, N.J. who shot at the wrong target.

Browns Mills, in the heart of the Jersey Pines, is adjacent to Fort Dix, so there's a lot of military families that have settled down around Mirror Lake. Matt's father, "Dickie" Emmons is the rifle range manager of sorts, a civilian in charge of maintainging the ranges, many of which run along Range Road, where you can hear guns popping off all the time, even in the rain.

Then there's also some multi-generational farmers, fishermen, hunters and locals who are colloqually refered to as "Pineys," similar in style to hillbillys in West Virginia.

After graduating from Pemberton High School and college in Alaska, where he was just inagurated (or was that indicted) into a Nanook Hall of Fame, Emmons settled down in Colorado, where the U.S. Olympic team works out, and where he attened gradate school.

When he shot at the wrong target in the attempt at a second gold metal in Athens, the young girl on the Check team came over to offer her condolenses. The next time they crossed paths, at the next international competition, they talked again, and really hit it off. Her father, the Check shooting coach, is world renown, and has already agreed to coach the Australian team after these Olympics are over. So Matt and his Check girlfriend got married in Checkaslovakia last June, 2007, when some of the Emmons from Browns Mills went over for the gala affair.

Like a wayward "Wrong Way" Corrigan, Matt is back again this year, making the Olympic team and hoping he'll get a chance to redeem himself, and bring a few more gold medals home.

Emmons is a common name in these parts. There's Emmons Farms, and there's an Emmons on some council, and some who aren't related.

Matt Emmons' family live near Range Road, just across the street from Fort Dix firing range, thus Range Road, where the cracks of rifle fire can be heard at all times of the day, and sometimes at night.

Shooting competatively since he was a very young kid, Pat Looney, his little league coach, remembers Matt as being more interested in shooting than baseball back then. Matt Emmons, he says, is just a good college kid who can shoot really, really good.

Shooting a rifle is part of growing up in Browns Mills.

Now as he heads out for Bejing, there will be more on Matt Emmons later.

Stay Tuned.

American Matt Emmons, the 2004 Olympic champion in prone rifle, had already secured spots for Beijing in prone and three-position rifle.

Ft. Benning (WTVM) - Monday was Day Two of the USA Shooting National Championships at the Pool International Shooting Complex.

The Men's Air Rifle Final was dominated by two Beijing Olympians. Three Position and Prone Rifle qualifier Matt Emmons fired a 105.7 in the final round to win the national title. Sergeant First Class Jason Parker of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) finished second, two points back. He qualified for Beijing in Men's Air Rifle and Three Position Rifle.

Both are using this event to fine tune their gear and their mind for the Olympics. Emmons said that his "hold has gotten better, and my trigger control's better, so there's a lot of technical things that have improved. And my mental game's kinda coming along, too, which is good."

Sgt. 1st Class Parker has been "working a lot on physical conditioning, and feel good physical-wise and mental-wise. Everything's good, the equipment is in top form, and I'm real happy with that."

Here's the scoop on the shooters from Sports Network:

And the highlights on our Main Man Matt:

..In both the rifle and pistol events 10-ring targets are utilized, with a number of the individual rounds having their own unique set of rules which shooters must follow in order to score points.

It should come as little surprise that the United States has had the most success in shooting over the years, the nation's 49 gold medals alone almost as many as the total number of medals (57) logged by the Soviet Union/USSR.

In Athens four years ago the Americans were poised to add to that impressive total, specifically Matt Emmons, but in what has to be considered one of the greatest blunders in recent Olympic history, Emmons went from leading in the 50m three position rifle final to an eighth-place finish when his final shot fired at the wrong target in a different lane. The agonizing faux pas allowed China's Jia Zhando to capture the gold.....

And how about this tidbit:

.....Rarely does an Olympic competitor have trouble getting his/her equipment over to the host country, but it wasn't until the end of June that U.S. marksmen learned they'd be permitted to bring their own firearms with them to Beijing. President Bush cleared the way for shooters to bring their own guns over to the Olympics with barely a month remaining before departure, which is akin to having softball players bring their own gloves.

Now that's locking the gate after the cat's out of the bag, or however that goes.
I wonder if Matt will get to meet President Bush and his right hand man, Eddie Gillespie, another native son of Browns Mills, New Jersey.

Nevertheless, the sharpshooters to keep an eye on from the United States include Vincent Hancock, the current world record holder in skeet shooting. Just 19-years old, Hancock made it look rather easy during the three-day U.S. Trials by posting a perfect 25 in the final round to earn his way to the 2008 Games.

A bit longer in the tooth is Emmons who now resides in Colorado Springs after finding true love at the 2004 Games and subsequently married Katerina Kurkova, an Athens silver medalist in air rifle for the Czech Republic. At least he came back from Greece with something positive to talk about after his problems finding the right target. Needless to say, Emmons has the added pressure of making up for his mistake from four years ago.

However, Emmons is not the only shooter who to have his issues on the target range in Athens. Michael Anti, who is heading to his fourth Olympic Games, could have pulled out the gold medal himself in the 3-position competition, but instead settled for the silver four years ago after squeezing off one too many shots while in the kneeling position of the event. If nothing else, his finish in Greece was still far beyond his previous success, with Anti finishing no higher than eighth place in 1992 or 2000.

White Deer in a Snowstorm

Blueberry Fest at Whitesbog

Sunday, June 29, 2008

White Fawn in the Bogs

Michael, a Piney hunter who has killed two white deer, who has a son named Hunter, who has also killed a white deer, says that in mid-June (2008), he was riding around Mirror Lake and at the far end, where it gets to be swamp, and the origin of Rancocus Creek, he saw what looked like a white bucket in a pond.

Getting out of his truck, as he approached it, a baby white fawn stuck its head out of the water and looked at him before wandering off into the woods.

When I said, that there's a deer for you to kill in a year or so, he replied that, "White deer are no fun to kill because they don't run away."

"Yea, that's because they're used to people all the time," I said.

So Michael is having second thoughts about killing white deer.

I also told him it's bad luck to kill a white deer and that Greg Gregory, a major hunter from Somers Point, who hunts with bow and arrow, old flintlocks and shotgun, said that after killing a white deer he went seven seasons without ever bagging another one.

Well at least we know there's one white buck out there.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Kelly's Heroes - Memorial Day 2008

Last December I posted this on a new blog I started at the Courier Post, but after a few months they revamped their website and eleminated all of their blogs, so I'm reposting it here, on Memorial Day 2008. I'm also going to add a few more local heroes - Jack Gillespie, Lynda Van Devanter, my father and my uncle Leo. - BK
This being December 7, 2007, the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, I thought I'd look up some of my local heroes - Ed Hill, Tom Kelly, McGraw, McGuire, and Leo and Bill Kelly, my uncle and father, all of whom were of the Greatest Generation, and were the kind of men no one else could be unless they lived what they lived through. Namely World War II.

I had never heard of Ed Hill until one day I was walking through the Washington Street Mall in Cape May, on my way to the Ugly Mug, when I stopped to read a memorial marker that I had passed hundreds of times without bothering.

It is a simple granite marker with an inscription that commemorates Hill as a local Cape May native who died at Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.

But when I stopped by the local VFW post, nobody knew anything about Hill, and after calling every Hill in the Cape May County phone book, I failed to find a relative who could tell me anything about him.

Then I got The Book - The U.S. Senate Committee report on Medal of Honor Recipients 1863-1978 "In the name of the Congress of the United States," Committee of Veterans Affairs, February 14, 1979.

Among the World War II Medal of Honor citations Edwin Joseph Hill gets one paragraph on page 578, which reads:

Rank and organization: Chief Boatswain, U.S. Navy. Born: 4 October, 1894, Philadelphia, Pa. Accredited to : Pennsylvania. Citation: For distinguished conduct in the line of his profession, extraordinary courage, and disregard of his own safety during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, by Japanese forces on 7 December 1941. During the height of the strafing and bombing, Chief Boatswain Hill led his men of the line-handling details of the U.S.S. Nevada to the quays, cast off the lines and swam back to his ship. Later, while on the forecastle, attempting to let go the anchors, he was blown overboard and illed by the explosion of several bombs.

The book was given to me by Kenny Robinson, the pro shop manager, caddy master and starter at the Atlantic City Country Club, a Korean War hero himself, who had obtained The Book from Tom Kelly, a Longport attorney and Medal of Honor recipient who died of a heart attack in a Bally hotel room, wearing his medal, following a dinner and golf tournament.

I met Tom Kelly at the Longport Inn, in Longport, N.J., which is no longer there, but at one time was a fine restaurant where all the Atlantic City/Margate/Longport bigwigs and power brokers gathered. It was there that Tom Kelly told me what he did to earn - you don't "win" the Congressional Medial of Honor.

Reading Tom Kelly's citation from his book, p. 593:


Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, Medical Detachment, 48th Armored Infantry Battalion, 7 Armored Division. Place and date: Alemert, German, 5 April 1945. Entered service at Brooklyn, N.Y. Birth: Brooklyn, N.Y., G.O. No. 97, 1 November 1945. Citation: He was an aid man witht he 1st Platoon of Company C during an attack on the town of Almert, Germany. The platoon, committed in a flanking maneuver, had advanced down a small, open valley overlooked by wooed slopes hiding enemy machineguns and tanks, when the attack was stopped by a murderous fire that inflicted heavy casualities in the American ranks. Ordered to withdraw, Cpl. Kelly reached safety with uninjured remnants of the unit, but, on realizing the extent of casulaties suffered by his platoon, voluntarily retraced his steps and began evacuating his comrades under direct machinegun fire. He was forced to crawl, dragging the injured behind him for most of the 300 yards separating the exposed area from a place of comparative safety. Two other volunteers who attempted to negotiate the hazardous route with him were mortally wounded, but he kept on with his herculean task after dressing their wounds and carrying them to friendly hands. In all, he made 10 separate trips through the brutal fire, each time bringing out a man from the death trap. Seven more casualties who were able to crawl by themselves he guided and encouraged in escaping from the hail of fire. After he had completed his heroic, self-imposed task and was near collapse from fatigue, he refused to leave his platoon until the attack had been resumed and the objective to leave his platoon until the attack had been resumed and the objective taken. Cpl. Kelly's gallantry and intrepidity in the face of seemingly certain death saved the lives of many of his fellow soldiers and was an example of bravery under fire.

Among the details I remember Kelly telling me were his running with a man on his shoulder, a machine gun bullets hitting around his feet and him thinking of his grammar school nun whipping him with a ruler to run faster. Then, when he finally made it to the machine gun nest that killed half his platoon and wounded most of the rest, Kelly said that the machine gun was being manned by a 12 year old school kid. He said he had to keep others with him from killing him.

One of the few surviving medal of honor recipients, Tom Kelly said the medal was almost a burden, as it followed him around whereever he went.

He said that they promised him that a community athletic or medical building would be named in his honor in the German town of Almert, where the action took place very late in the war, but they were going to wait until after he died, because he could still do something discraceful that would possibly negate his combat herotism.

Well Tom Kelly never discraced himself and I occassionally wonder if they ever named that building after him in Almert. Will have to to there sometime.

There is a building named after McGraw, McGraw School in East Camden, around the corner from where I spent the first 18 years of my life and where I went to Kindergarden.

I looked up McGraw in The Book, and there he is, on page 623:


Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company H., 26th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Schevenhutte, German, 19 November 1944. Entered service at: Camden, N.J. Birth: Philadelphia, Pa., G.O. No. 92, 25 October 1945. Citation: He manned a heavy machinegun emplaced in a foxhole near Schevenhutte, Germany, on 19 November 1944, when the enemy launched a fierce counterattack. Braving an intense hour-long preparatory barrage, he maintained his stand and poured deadly accurate fire into the advancing foot troops until they faltered and came to a hault. The hostile forces brought up a machinegun in an effort to dislodge him but were frustrated when he lifted his gun to an exposed but advantageous postion atop a log, courageously firing. He silenced a second machinegun and then made repeated trips over fireswept terrain to replenish his ammunition supply. Wounded painfully in this dangerous task, he disregarded his injury and hurried back to his post, where his weapon was showered with mud when another rocket barely missed him. In the midst of the battle, with enemy troops taking advantage of his predicament to press forward, he calmly cleaned his gun, put it back into action and drove off the attackers. He continued to fire until his ammunition was expended, when, with a fierce desire to close with the enemy, he picked up a carbine, killed 1 enemy soldier, wounded another and engaged in a desperate fire-fight with a third until he was mortally wounded by a burst from a machine pistol. The extraordinary heroism and intrepidity displayed by Pvt. McGraw inspired his company to great efforts and was a major factor in repulsing the enemy attack.

Then right under neath of McGraw, on the same page 623, is

McGUIRE, THOMAS B., Jr. (Air Mission), who McGuire Air Force Base is named after.

His citation reads:

Rank and organization: Major, U.S. Army Air Corps, 13th Air Force. Place and date: Over Luzon, Philpine Islands, 25-26 December 1944. Entered service at: Sebring, Fla. Birth: Ridgewood, N.J. G.O. No.: 24, 7 March 1946. Citation. He fought with conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity over Luzon, philippine Islands. Voluntarily, he led a squadron of 15 P-38's as top cover for heavy bombers striking Mabalacat Airdrome, where his formation was attacked by 20 aggressive Japanese fighters. In the ensuing action he repeatedly flew to the aid of embattled comrades, driving off enemy assaults while himself under attack and at times outnumbered 3 to 1, and even after his guns jammed, continuing the fight by forcing a hostile plane into his wingman's line of fire. Before he started back to his base he had shot down 3 Zeros. The next day he again volunteered to lead escort fighters on a mission to strongly defended Clark Field. During the resultant engagement he again exposed himself to attacks so that he might rescue a crippled bomber. In rapid succession he shot down 1 aircraft, parried the attack of 4 enemy fighters, 1 of which he shot down, singlehandedly engaged 3 more Japanese, destroying 1, and then shot down still another., his 38th victory in aerial comat. On 7 January 1945, while heading a voluntary fighter sweep over Los Negros Island, he risked an extremely hazardous maneuver at low altitude in an attempt to save a fewllow flyer from attack, crashed, and was reported missing in action. With galian initiative, deep and unselfish concern for the safety of others, and heroic determination to destroy the enemy at all costs, Maj. McGuire set an inspiring example in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service.

I also knew of a Medal of Honor recipient who died in Somers Point, having lived on Gibbs Avenuue, just down the street from 77, my good friend John "Wolfman" McGonigle, also a distinguised Vietnam Veteran I was proud to know.

There was an obit from the local paper that I saved for Louise Schmidt, wife of Oscar Schmidt, Jr.

SCHMIDT Of Gibbs Ave., Somers Point, N.J. April 18, 1980. LOUISE H., (nee Fischer) Schmidt, age 74 years, wife of the late Oscar Schmidt, Jr. Funearl services will be hed Mon. Evening 8 P.M. at The Middleton-Stroble Funeral Home, 304 Shore Road, Somers Point, N.J. Int. Arlington National Cem., Arlington, Va. Expressions of sympathy may be made by donations to the Somers Point Rescue Squad. Friends may call Mon. eve. 7-9.

Written in handwriting was "Cong. Med. of Honor."

In Th Book, p. 461, Schmidt's Citation from World War I reads:


Rank and organization: Chief Gunner's Mater, U.S. Navy. Place and date: At sea, 9 October, 1918. Entered service at: Pennsylvania. Born 25 March 1896. Philadelphia, Pa., G. O. No. 450, 1919. Citation: or gallant conduct and extraordinary heroism while attached to the U.S.S. Chestnut Hill, on the occassion of the explosion and subsequent fire on board the U.S. submarine chaser 219. Schmidt, seeing a man, whose legs were partially blown off, hanging on a line from the bow of the 219, jumped overboard, swam to the sub chaser and carried him from the bow to the stern where a member of the 219's crew helped him land the man on the afterdeck of the submarine. Schmidt then endeavored to pass through the flames amidship to get another man who was seriously burned. This he was unable to do, but when the injured man fell overboard and drifted to the stern of the chaser Schmidt helped him aboard.

Then Schmidt retired to Somers Point and lived quietly and unassuming among his neighors.

While I was preparing this, a radio report mentioned that there are only 32 World War II Medal of Honor recipients still alive, now that two have recently died - Solomon LeBlac and Sylvestre S. Herrera, the latter being a Mexican-American.

My uncle Leo Kelly died on the USS South Dakota, during the battle of Guadacanal,, in the Pacific, which I will detail later, and my father William E. Kelly, Sr., flew B-17s in the 8th Air Force, that I'll get into as well.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Jack Gillespie RIP

JOHN PATRICK "JACK" GILLESPIE - September 26, 1921 - April 17, 2008

Son of Donegal, Jack Gillespie lived a remarkable life and had an honorable death. That's all you really need to know or say about a person.

But the Jack Gillespie I knew was special enough to elaborate on those two remarkable and honorable facts of his life and death.

Born in Ireland, young Jack immigrated to America while still a child, at the age of nine, but he left with the imprint of his origin remaining with him until the day he died.

I met him at the bar at J.C.'s, now called Belly Busters, a Browns Mills tavern that he once owned. Jack was the "J" and his wife Conny was the "C" in JC's Market and at JC's bar and grill down the street, just across from the dam by Mirror Lake.

From the moment I met him Jack hit a soft spot in my heart when he said he was from Donegal, the one town in Irleand that I too have fond memories of, including the lake and waterfall and the red head Alish, and ah.....yes, it reminds him a lot of Browns Mills, where the road around the lake is almost indistinguishable from parts of the road along the lake at Donegal.

And Gillespie said he knew my uncle Babe Kelly, who had Kelly's Cafe in North Camden and a summer house in Browns Mills. All those Irish barkeeps knew one another.

We talked about Ireland, and I told him how I traveled there and visited Donegal, and took a hike up a little mountain to a lake and a waterfall, and met Alish McFadden walking down the street. With a napsack on my back, it was obvious I was from out of town, and she offered to let me sleep on the floor of an office where she worked that was closed for the weekend.

From Donegal I went to nearby Letterkenny, where I visited the little old lady who had previously owned Kelly's Cafe, sold it to my uncles, and retired home to Letterkenny. I then returned to Donegal for a quick spin in 1991, on my way back from Berlin. Donegal had retained much of the same characterI had remembered from 1970.

Gillespie said he didn't remember much about Donegal because he came over as a youngster, but he'd since been back, on a golf excursion with his sons.

Jack was also a vet, and he usually hung out, in his retirement, at the American Legion hall in nearby Pemberton, but invariably came by Belly Busters for a late afternoon drink once or twice a week. The sign outside says Belly Busters, but everybody still calls it "JC's," as it was once and will always be known.

When Jack owned it, the bar was back in the corner and surrounded the kitchen. It only had a dozen or so seats, and one small table by the window facing the lake, so everybody got to know everybody pretty well. Frank built the big formica bar after he bought the place from Jack and expanded the kitchen and package goods store. Frank then sold the place to Rahn, from India, who has kept the place pretty much the same.

Everybody knew Jack Gillespie, and treated him with respect, not only as the former owner of the popular bar, but because of the life he lived.

From Donegal to Philadelphia, Gillespie came to America at the age of nine. He grew up in Philadelphia, served in the Army during World War II, worked as a salesman and relocated to Browns Mills to take over his wife's family market. JC's Market was a fixture in Browns Mills, and the primary marketplace in town until the Acme finally opened.

His son John Gillespie noted, "The grocery store gave him such an opportunity to know people. There must have been 2,000 people a day that used to come into that store, and at least half of them came because they wanted to see Jack."

Jack was a fixer. Whenever there was a problem, Jack was the first person someone would turn to for a solution, especially if it could be solved with money. Jack and Connie also let local families run a tab, so they could shop for groceries all week and settle up on payday.

Then when he opened "JC's" tavern, it was, as his son Ed would put it, "live every Irishman's dream of owning a bar."

When they sold the market, one son showed his father the outstanding debts, with lists of names and amounts, only some with lines through them, and asked about collecting it. "Why?" Jack said. They still have the tabs for some locals at the bar, but the tabs are dutifully paid since nobody wants to be the one who ends Jack's tradition, which has passed on, like Micky the Matre' d, with the deed, through three owners.

The last time we sat together at JC's, and talked about Donegal, Jack told me about a jockey at Pennsylvania Park who was from Donegal. An Irish lass and a true Mick, who I later looked up and found she had won quite a few races.

When I asked Jack about the war, he said he was in the Army and served in Europe, but didn't mention that he was a highly decorated hero who was wounded in action, and recipient of the Silver Star, Bronze Star with oak leaf cluster and the Purple Heart.

Jack Gillespie wasn't just a veteran, he was a certifiable hero, with the medals to prove it. But he seldom talked about the war, even among his veteran friends. He did say, when asked what the difference was between earning a bronze star and silver star, that the difference was "getting shot in the legs and getting shot in the ass."

Jack was part of a proud Army division, 28th infantry, that traced its regiment back to the Revolution.

I later learned that he was with the 28th Infantry division, and the same unit and enganged in the same battles as Francis Clark, who earned the Medal of Honor.

According to one internet source, "Clark joined the Army from Salem, New York, and by September 12, 1944 was serving as a technical sergeant in Company K, 109th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division. On that day, near Kalborn, Luxembourg, he crawled through open terrain to reach a platoon which had been pinned down by heavy fire, led them to safety, and then returned to rescue a wounded man. Five days later, near Sevenig, Germany, he single-handedly attacked a German machine gun position and then assumed command of two leaderless platoons. Although wounded, he refused medical evacuation, attacked two more German machine gun positions alone, and carried supplies through hostile fire to an isolated platoon. For these actions, he was awarded the Medal of Honor a year later, on September 10, 1945. Clark left the Army while still a technical sergeant. He died at age 68 or 69 and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Salem, New York."

Technical Sergeant Clark's official Medal of Honor citation reads:

He fought gallantly in Luxembourg and Germany. On 12 September 1944, Company K began fording the Our River near Kalborn, Luxembourg, to take high ground on the opposite bank. Covered by early morning fog, the 3d Platoon, in which T/Sgt. Clark was squad leader, successfully negotiated the crossing; but when the 2d Platoon reached the shore, withering automatic and small-arms fire ripped into it, eliminating the platoon leader and platoon sergeant and pinning down the troops in the open. From his comparatively safe position, T/Sgt. Clark crawled alone across a field through a hail of bullets to the stricken troops. He led the platoon to safety and then unhesitatingly returned into the fire-swept area to rescue a wounded soldier, carrying him to the American line while hostile gunners tried to cut him down. Later, he led his squad and men of the 2d Platoon in dangerous sorties against strong enemy positions to weaken them by lightning-like jabs. He assaulted an enemy machinegun with hand grenades, killing 2 Germans. He roamed the front and flanks, dashing toward hostile weapons, killing and wounding an undetermined number of the enemy, scattering German patrols and, eventually, forcing the withdrawal of a full company of Germans heavily armed with automatic weapons. On 17 September, near Sevenig, Germany, he advanced alone against an enemy machinegun, killed the gunner and forced the assistant to flee. The Germans counterattacked, and heavy casualties were suffered by Company K. Seeing that 2 platoons lacked leadership, T/Sgt. Clark took over their command and moved among the men to give encouragement. Although wounded on the morning of 18 September, he refused to be evacuated and took up a position in a pillbox when night came. Emerging at daybreak, he killed a German soldier setting up a machinegun not more than 5 yards away. When he located another enemy gun, he moved up unobserved and killed 2 Germans with rifle fire. Later that day he voluntarily braved small-arms fire to take food and water to members of an isolated platoon. T/Sgt. Clark's actions in assuming command when leadership was desperately needed, in launching attacks and beating off counterattacks, in aiding his stranded comrades, and in fearlessly facing powerful enemy fire, were strikingly heroic examples and put fighting heart into the hard-pressed men of Company K.

I gave Jack a copy of my book 300 Years at the Point, and he invited me to the Legion for a book signing by one of his sons, Ed Gillespie, author of Winning Right - Campaign Politics and Conservative Policies (Threhold, 2006).

Although I already knew his daughters Joanne and Tracy, it was at the Legion where I met his sons Ed and John.

John is a big lawyer in the county, and Ed is a big lobyist in Washington, the former chairman of the Republican Party, a protege of Carl Rove, and special advisor to the President of the United States.

In his book Ed writes, "In Ireland, there's a Gaelic word for people who are great storytellers and have an ability to sense what's coming in the future - Seanchai (pronounced 'Shan-a-key'). My father is a Seanchai. Before the Iraq War, he shared with me his reservations. 'I hope to God he (Bush) doesn't do it, son. If we go there, we'll be in there a long, long time.' Before the nineties sock bubble burst, he told me that stocks were selling for more than they were worth, despite what Wall Steet was saying at the time."

"Family lore has it that he correctly predicted the sex of all twelve of his grandchildren by dangling a pencil from a needle and thread over his expectant daughters' and daughters-in-laws midsections. If the pencil swung back and forth like a pendulum, it would be a boy. If it went around in a circle, it would be a girl."

"Jack Gillespie has an uncanny ability to size people up in an instant. His reservations about one of my girlfriends was enoguh to cause me to look in a different direction for a wife, and his hearty endorsement of Cathy was all it took for me to ask her to marry me (a piece of sage advise he would gloat over forever)."

"When I was a cocky young political operative, I often dismissed his insights. After all, he didn't have the benefit of a college education as I did (thanks to him, of course)."

"Then one day, dawned on me that far more often than not he was dead on the money. So I was disconcerted when after the Roberts nomination [for Supreme Court] had concluded in a successful confirmation, Dad said to me, 'I hope you're done with that stuff now, Eddie.'"

"'Well, Dad, the President has asked me to stay on and to help with the next one.'"

"'Well I hope like hell you told him no.'"

"'Dad, I don't know how to tell the president of the United States no!'"

"'Easy. You just say, 'Sorry, Mr. President, I can't do it.'"

"'I can't do that, Dad.'"

"'I'm worried, Son.' When my fther calls one of us 'Son,' it always carries a sense of gravity. 'This next one's going to be bad.'"

"'Why do you say that?' I asked, incredulously."

"'I don't know, but it's going to be bad.'"

"Given his track record, this gve me a very unsettled feeling."

Then Jack stopped coming by JC's or going out much at all. I'd ride by his house on the other side of the lake, and his white sedan would be there, and the big Irish and American flags hanging by the door. If he was out there sitting in the shade I'd beep my horn and he'd wave, not knowing who he was waving to. Everybody in Browns Mills knew Jack Gillespie.

The mass at St. Ann's in the Pines was said by the local parish priest, Father Edwin, and Jack's nephew, who was priest (Jack's sister is a nun).

It was in the eulogies that I learned more about Jack, and followed the entourage to the Veterans Cemetery, where Pat Looney, a JC's regular, led the military ritual, folding the flag and presenting it to the family.

The flag was given to the son, Dennis, who had served in the Coast Guard.

A week or so after he died I took a ride around the lake and passed Jack's house. The Irish and American flags were still flying by the door, and his white sedan was parked in the driveway, just like he was home. I beeped my horn, and waved, and looked across the street to the sign that reads: Never let it be said and said with shame, that all was beautiful until you came.

That's one thing that can be said about Jack Gillespie. He left this earth a better place than he found it.

God Bless Jack Gillespie.

28th Infantry Division:

CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR WINNERS: T/Sgt Francis J Clark, Co K, 109th Infantry Regiment, for 12 Sep 1944 action at the Our River near Kalborn, Luxembourg.

SLOGAN: Fire and Movement:

FOREIGN AWARDS: 109th Infantry regiment awarded the French Croix de Guerre for 28 Jan to 2 Feb 1945 action in Colmar, France per French decree #565, dated 27 March 1945.

COMBAT HIGHLIGHTS: From Normandy, through France, Belgium, Luxembourg and eventually into Germany itself, the 28th Infantry Division blasted its way to success against the enemy which referred to the Keystone unit as the "Bloody Bucket" division. That phrase described the fury of the assaults which it launched shortly after landing on the Normandy beaches 22 Jul 1944. By 31st Jul, the 28th was in the thick of the hedgerow fighting. Advances were at a crawling pace while towns like Percy, Montbray, Montguoray, Gatheme and St Sever de Calvados and Hill 210 fell. By 20th August, the Division was rolling eastward along the highways of France. An advance north to the Seine to trap the remnants of the German 7th Army saw the capture of Vernauil, Breteuil, Damville, Conchos, Le Neubourg and Elbouf as the bag of prisoners mounted. On 29th August, the Division entered Paris and paraded under battle conditions before a populace delirious with joy. There was no time for rest, however, and the advance continued on through the Forest of Compeigne, La Fere, St Quentin, Laen, Rethel, Sedan, Mezieros, Bouilion and on the 6th of September the crossing of the Mouse was accomplished. The Division swept into Belgium averaging advances of 17 miles a day against the resistance of of German roadblocks and "battle groups." The city of Arlon, Belgium fell to a task force as the Division fanned out into Luxembourg. Combat Team 112, attached to the 5th Armored Division, liberated the southern portion of Luxembourg and smashed its way into Germany at Wallendorf in an attack aimed at Bitburg. Combat Teams 109 and 110 liberated the northern part of Luxembourg and on 11th September entered Germany in strength. After hammering away in assaults which destroyed or captured 153 pill boxes and bunkers the Division moved north and cleared the Monschau Forest of German forces in the area east of Elsenborn, Rocherath, and Krinkelt, Belgium, moving up to the Siegfried Line again. Further attacks were postponed and the Division made another move northward to the Hurtgen Forest. There the attack began 2nd November 1944 and the Keystoners stormed into Vossenack, Kommerscheidt and Schmidt amid savage fighting. Losses were heavy and ground once wrested from the enemy was lost and regained to be lost again to the ever increasing fury of his counter-attacks. By 12th November, the 28th had completes its Hurtgen Forest mission and moved south to the scene of its initial entry into Germany where it held a 25 sector of the front line along the Our River, from the northeastern tip of Luxembourg to the vicinity of Wallendorf. In this sector the Germans unleashed the full force of their winter offensive against the thinly-held and over-extended division line. Five crack (German) divisions were hurled across the Our River the first day to be followed by four more in the next few days. the Keystone rocked under the overwhelming weight of enemy armor and personnel but refused to become panic stricken. The defense by the Division against Von Rundstedt's assault was termed by one correspondent as "one of the greatest feats in the history of the American Army." By the time that the 28th was relieved it had thrown the German timetable completely off schedule and had inflicted heavy losses on the enemy. During early January 1945, the Division was charged with defense of the Meuse River from Givet, Belgium to Verdun, France. Later that month a move to the south, to Alsace, was made. There the 28th had the experience of serving in the French First Army in the reduction of the "Colmar Pocket" and to it went the honor of capturing Colmar, the last major French City in German hands. Further advances to the east across the L'Ill River and Rhino-Rhono Canal to the west bank of the Rhine followed. By 23rd February, the Division had returned north to the American First Army and was in the line along the Olef River. March 6th was the jump-off date in an attack which carried the Keystone to the Ahr River. Schleiden, Gomund, Kall, Sotenich, Sistig and Blankonheim all fell in a rapid advance. Many prisoners and large stores of enemy weapons, equipment and ammunition were taken. The Rhine was crossed and an area south of the "Ruhr Pocket" occupied by the 28th awaiting an southward drive by the German forces trapped in the pocket. Early in April the Division moved west of the Rhine and took up occupation duties in the area north of Aachen along the Holland-German border. Two weeks later came a move to the permanent occupation area; the Saarland and Rhonish Palatinate. Early in July the Division started redeployment to the United States, arriving home in August 1945. After V-J Day, the 28th Division reassembled at Camp Shelby, Mississippi and was inactivated on 12 December 1945.

Grace Kelly Family Beach House Ocean City, N.J.


When John B. Kelly brought his young and growing family to Ocean City in the summer of 1927, he did what many visitors do and leased an apartment near 8th street. While Atlantic City and Margate were more popular with other Philadelphians, Kelly liked Ocean City, “America’s Greatest Family Resort,” and decided to make it their second home at the shore.

Kelly’s “For Brickwork” construction company was responsible for many of the skyscrapers that make up the Philadelphia skyline, and he wanted a beach house at the shore where his family could escape from the city in the summer. After renting for a few seasons he decided to make permanent arrangements and surveyed the area for a place to build a beach house. At the time Ocean City was underdeveloped, and he could have purchased land practically anywhere on the island, but chose some choice beachfront lots towards the south end at 26th and Wesley Avenues.

There were few other homes in the area when they began construction of the two- story, brick house in 1929, the year Grace was born. “We said we were down in the boondocks,” recalled Grace’s sister Lizanne, who didn’t like the idea of having to walk or hitchhike to the then popular 2nd street beach.

Her mother, Margaret-Majer, a former physical education instructor at the University of Pennsylvania, chose the architectural style, Spanish Mission Revival, which she had seen in Florida and was similar to other buildings in Ocean City, including the Flanders, the Music Pier and the Chatterbox, where Grace worked as a waitress when she was a teenager.

Besides Grace and Lizanne, there was older sister Peggy and brother John, also known as “Kell,” who became an Ocean City lifeguard, and like his father, an Olympic rowing champion. While John B. Kelly won the Olympic gold medal in rowing, he was not allowed to participate in the elite Henley championships on the Thames in London, because he was considered a laborer who worked with his hands, and therefore not a gentleman. John B. took it personally and his son Kell avenged the slight by wining the Henley sculls and returning home a hero. Kell always credited his working summers as an Ocean City lifeguard for preparing him for his Olympic and Henley victories.

Grace became an Academy Award winning actress and while in Monaco to make a movie with Cary Grant, Grace was introduced to Prince Rainier and given a tour of the castle and casino. Within a year they were married in the ceremony of the season, an extremely lavish affair in Monte Carlo that made worldwide headlines. John B. Kelly leased an ocean liner to take the Philadelphia Kellys to Monaco for the wedding.

Grace, Peggy, Lizanne and Kell all had growing families of their own and the additional grandchildren prompted Mrs. Kelly to have the beach house built across the street. As their property had riparian rights to the sea, and the neighborhood had grown up around them, the new house would be right on the beach rather than across the street. Construction of the brick and mortar beach house began in 1960. The up and down duplex included a patio for barbeques and large bell that was rung for the children to return from the beach for lunch and dinner.

For the most part, the Kelly family resided in the downstairs apartment, except during hurricanes, while visiting relatives, cousins and guests lived upstairs. Among the guests were many celebrities, friends and business associates from the Atlantic City Race Track, which John B. Kelly had built with partners Hap Farley and Sonny Fraser of the Atlantic City Country Club. Among the frequent guests were entertainers Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. Of course Prince Rainier of Monaco was also a guest, as were his children, Caroline, Stephanie and Albert, all of whom spent their formative years on the 26th street beach. While the press and paparazzi often disturbed them, the neighbors were friends and protectors of the Kelly family and their legacy.

Every Labor Day the family would get together at the beach house and have a beach party, barbeque and sporting competitions, parties that included Grace and her children every year except the year she died in a tragic accident.

Lizanne, who had married Don Levine, a Race Track Steward, was the only Kelly who didn’t attend the wedding in Monaco because she was pregnant and gave birth to a daughter, Grace. Lizanne lived in the beach house until both her husband and daughter died, and sold it in 2001.


The old brick beach house was simple and Spartan, with the cinderblock and brick walls giving it a cold and harsh feeling, so a new duplex was built, with similar up and down stairs units that has all the modern amenities.

The new building is fit for a Prince and Princess, with sweeping views of the ocean and easy access to the beach.


Last of the Kelly's Checks Out - Liz Levine


Ocean City’s image as a family resort was shaped in large measure by the family of a Philadelphia bricklayer John B. Kelly, who began to visit Ocean City in the 1920s and established a living local legacy with a family that included two Olympic rowing champions, a President and Steward of the Atlantic City Race Course, and Academy Award winning actress and princess and a Secretary of the Navy.

It all centered around the Kelly family home at 26th Street and Wesley Avenue beach, where the Kelly family maintained a residence from 1929 until the 2001, a 72 year run.

For Lizanne Kelly Levine, the last surviving daughter of John B. Kelly, the past few years were exceptionally hard, with the death of her daughter, Grace and husband, Donald Levine.

Her father built the original Kelly house on the North West side of 26th Street and Wesley Avenue in 1929, the year daughter Grace was born. It was the only house around. As the neighborhood grew up around them, with riparian rights to the sea, a brick duplex beach house was built across the street on the North East corner in 1960, the year John B. Kelly died.

While her mother, also an athlete, lived to be 90 after a debilitating stroke, her older sister Peggy passed away before her sister Grace died in a spectacular auto accident in Monaco in 1982, which captured the world’s attention.

Then in 1985 brother John “Kell” died of a heart attack while jogging along East River Drive (now Kelly Drive) near Boathouse Row along the Schuykill River in Philadelphia, within an hour of her brother-in-law’s equally sudden death in an office building a few blocks away.

Now, with the passing of her husband, Donald Levine, Lizanne sat back in the living room of her Ocean City home and reflected on her past and her future. She recently sold the house.

“We’ve had it tough, but we’ve always got thorugh it,” she said. “We got through almost everything. We’ve had a lot of good times too. But now my whole family is gone. It’s the end of an era and I’m the last of the Mohicans.”

And now she feels it’s time for her to move on, especially since the big brick beach house is too large for her to live there alone, and so she will leave at the end of the summer of 2001.

The Kelly family legend has been told and retold, passed on to all Ocean City lifeguards, surfers, crew rowers and little girls who dream of becoming a princess. Lizanne Levine remembers it all too well.

She remembers the early years in Ocean City when, although she was only a few years old, the family began to spend summers leasing an apartment near 8th street. After two years, in 1929, her father bought the beachfront lot at 26th street and Wesley Avenue and built the two story house that’s still there today.

“My brother and sister used to say my mother and father built it up in the ‘boonies’ – the boondocks, because 2nd street was the street and most popular bathing beach at the time, and they had to get a ride or hitch hike to get down there.”

“This was Old Ocean City,” she explained. “There weren’t any other houses around. The only other house was at 25th street on the beach, and I didn’t even know who lived there.”

“My mother selected that style,” Levine recalled, “because she saw similar buildings in Florida and told my father what she wanted.”

The Spanish Mission Revival design is similar to a number of other significant Ocean City buildings from the same period – the Music Pier, Chatterbox, Flanders Hotel and other private residences.

In the winter they lived in East Falls, a small, blue-collar, working class neighborhood on the river near center city Philadelphia, but every spring they would return to Ocean City at the Jersey Shore.

“We came down as soon as we got out of school,” Lizanne recalled, “I always had my birthday, the 25th of June, in Ocean City, so we were always there before then.”

“We always had beach parties and cookouts on the beach because my dad built a brick fireplace, but the Storm of ’44 washed that away. That was the worst storm.”

Although she was still a child, she remembers it distinctly. “The waves were breaking over the all there, and they said on the radio that Ocean City was being evacuated, and my father jumped in his car and drove down here and found us all save and sound. But it was really strong winds, I could hardly stand up. My mother wanted to take some candles over to the neighbors across the street but I couldn’t stand up against the wind. I was 11 years old at the time but it truly was an experience.

“Mother would send us down to the beach and never think anything of it because the lifeguards babysat for us, and there weren’t that many kids on the beach. So mother reciprocated with a few sandwiches for the lifeguards. The late John Carey was a lifeguard on this beach for several years, and I always had a crush on the lifeguards. I loved John Carey.”

The Kellys struck up a personal rapport with all of the lifeguards, which would eventually include her brother Kell, one of the most proficient rowers on the OCBP.

It was her father, however, who made the stamp that was imprinted on the Kelly family.

Of course both houses Kelly built in Ocean City were made of brick. John B. Kelly started out as a brick layer and laborer, but eventually owned his owned company, whose slogan “KELLY FOR BRICKWORK” on signs and t-shirts were seen at the construction of many of the skyscrapers that make up Philadelphia’s skyline.

An Olympic gold medal rower, John B. Kelly went on to the Henley Regatta on the Thames in London, but because he was a laborer who worked with his hands, was not considered gentleman enough to qualify. It was a slight that he would remember and vow to revenge at the baptism of his son “Kell,” who also became an Olympic champion, and who returned to the river Thames and avenged his father’s slight by winning the Henley.

When Kell returned home, all of Philadelphia met him at the train station and gave him a parade to the Henry Avenue home in East Falls. Even when successful, John B., as he was called, refrained from moving to the more fashionable blueblood Main Line, and stayed in East Falls. For the same reason he shunned the prestigious Margate and Ventnor beach front neighborhoods for Ocean City.

Lizanne, like her mother Margaret Major, was an athlete, played most college sports, basketball, hockey and tennis. Margaret Major Kelly was the first women physical education teacher at the University of Pennsylvania, so sports and competition ran in the family.

“When I was a teenager,” Lizanne recalls, “14th street was the most popular beach, but everybody went swimming and diving at the Flander’s pool. That’s where I met Don, who became my husband. Grace and Peggy liked to dive, and Don was a great diver, and he taught swimming and diving at the Flanders. I was taking my nieces down and was waiting for them to finish their swimming lessons, sitting poolside, and Don was across the way teaching a lesson. He looked over to me and I looked at him, and he started to imitate me. If I crossed my legs, he crossed his legs, and well, after that, a mutual friend introduced me to him. And that was all, she wrote.”

After the sun went down, they strolled the boardwalk, or hit the Point – Somers Point, where the nightclub scene was in full swing.

“I can remember going over there a lot of times,” she said. “I’ll never forget one time, at Bay Shores, or was it Tony Marts? Grace and I were the youngest, and while we weren’t, we looked over 21, and didn’t have to lie, we just walked in. No one carded us. We didn’t have fake cards because mother wouldn’t have it. She said, ‘You can go in there if they let you in, but I don’t want you drinking with fake ID.’ Well anyway, we went over to see the band Mike Pedicin, Sr.. And while we were there my older sister Peggy came with her husband. She was 23, but they wouldn’t let her in without an ID. She looked in and sees Grace an I sitting there, and we waved and laughed at her, and she got so mad.”

“She said to the man at the door, ‘Look, you let my two younger sisters in, and you won’t let me in?’ And they wouldn’t let her in. We got the biggest kick out of that. The next morning she said, ‘Mother, can you believe they wouldn’t let me in and they let those to brats in!’”

The father, John B. Kelly was one of the founders and builder of the Atlantic City Race Course, which was also built out of brick in 1944. Horses and the race track was always a big part of their family life at the shore. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, before casino gambling came to Atlantic City, the race track would attract 30,000 people for the nightly races. Lizanne’s husband Don Levine worked at the track as a race steward.

In 1960, shortly after returning from his annual Kentucky Derby party, John B. Kelly died, and Lizanne’s mother decided to build the beach house across Wesley Avenue from the original house. “We needed more room for the grandchildren,” Lizanne explained. “Of course it’s a very sold building, I don’t know what they’re going to do, but they’ll have trouble tearing it down. We had a couple of hurricane parties and went upstairs to watch it, and it was fun.”

The most fun, Leveine recalls, were the Labor Day beach barbeques, a seasonal tradition that’s still maintained by the family. “We still do it,” she notes. “ We still have the King of the Surf competition up at the 47th street beach because we now have too many people on this beach. We have body surf competitions and a chicken bake off. I’m a judge, Grace was a judge, and one year Kell had Frank Purdue down here to judge the bake off.”

Things changed a little bit after Grace married Prince of Monaco and became Princess Grace.

“Those several years were really unbelievable,” she recalled, “because as soon as she came back here people were hanging over the wall and looking in the windows, but we got through it. We got through almost anything.”

The neighbors however, were always very supportive of their privacy. Levine’s cousin John Lehman, who became Secretary of the Navy under President Regan, helped keep the Labor Day beach barbeques going.

“We have surf contests, bake offs, and other competitions,” he said in an interview a few years ago. “Grace used to come back to officiate the competition…She never lost sight of or forgot the values of the ‘family first.’ And that is so rare, since you often find people who succeed…totally sacrifice their families, and she didn’t.”

Grace’s daughter Caroline was visiting Ocean City when her husband died in a sports race accident, and on September 14, 1982 – John Lehman’s birthday, Princess Grace Kelly Grimaldi died in an auto accident in Monaco. It was the first September season she didn’t make it home for the annual family reunion and beach party.

Lizanne Levine and John Lehman continued the family tradition however. “One year we’d have the Labor Day bash here and the next year we’d have it at 47th street,” said Lizanne. But this year, 2001 will be the last summer for the Kellys at 26th street.

Some nuns from her old school visited for a week last month, and a new generation of grandchildren are now spending summers in Ocean City, looking for work at Bob’s Grill and the Chatterbox, where Grace once worked as a waitress one summer.

Without any big plans, Lizanne Levine is looking over some of the old photos of the good times in Ocean City.

“I just look around and one thing about this family is that they had not been camera shy. I have pictures that you wouldn’t believe,” she said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do with all of them.”

As for what she’s going to do, “Well, I have friends on the east coast and the west coast of Florida. We always went to the east coast, because of the race track, but I’m going to go up the east coast and back the west coast, visiting all my former friends. They all come to see and visit me in the summer, so I’m going to visit them in the winter, tit for tat.”

“It’s the end of an era,” Levine said, “and we’ve had our share of tragedy, but we’ve had some really good times, too. “

And while she may be checking out, there’s always a new generation of the Philadelphia Kellys coming to Ocean City, where the Kelly family legacy will always be remembered.

[Editor’s note: William Kelly is not related to the Philadelphia family. He’s from the Camden Kelly’s ]