In Remembrance – Weldon Richard Storey – 1921-2020
Weldon Richard Storey
SEPTEMBER 26, 1921 – NOVEMBER 1, 2020
Weldon Storey, a long-time resident of Lumberton passed away on Nov 1st at the age of 99 yrs. Services will be held on Monday Nov.16th at the Washington crossing National Cemetery.
HIS DAUGHTER EVELYN SHARED THIS ABOUT HER FATHER
My Father, Weldon Storey had a deep, abiding affection for Lumberton. He may have lived in Pennsylvania and North Carolina but Lumberton, NJ was always home to him. He wrote several self-published books on it and his life there.
Weldon was born in Lumberton in 1921. At 6 years old, he lost a brother and sister to Diphtheria during an outbreak in the town. This affected his family deeply and he spoke of it into old age.
Despite that and going through the Great Depression starting at 8 years old, he had what he described as an adventurous and interesting childhood. Main Street had several retail shops including a Butcher shop, a General store, a Barber Shop, a Post Office, a bar and a Flower Shop (conveniently located across from the cemetery). They had only a few radios in town and listened to them by sitting on people’s porch steps. Bathrooms were outhouses and cars were rare.
Fun was had by swimming in the Rancocas, playing baseball and tennis and walking everywhere. He remembers riding in his Uncles Cab after going to the movies, paying 10 cents to get in and 5 cents for popcorn. In Elementary school, there were two grades in each classroom and he graduated early by doing the work of the next grade. He attended Mt Holly High School which later became RVRHS.
Sadly, his Mother died a few months after his High School graduation in 1938. He worked in the cornfields, and then in Fleetwings, a plane factory until joining the Army during WWII and being assigned to the 10th MTN Division Ski Troops. This was amusing as he had never seen a mountain despite living near Mt Holly!
After the war, he and several other men formed the Lumberton Last Man’s Club which was dedicated to honoring those who served and were lost in WWII and other wars along with doing good works for the town and its residents. They built the ball field next to Florence Walther School, helped war widows, held Christmas parties, and for years, ran the Memorial Day Parade. Along with his good friend, Paul Bradshaw, the Club worked hard building the Village Green and War Memorial. They originally had 41 members and always kept 4 draped chairs where they met symbolizing the four Lumberton men lost in WWII. Dad was always proud of the good work they did. In 2015, he became “The Last Man” as all other members had passed away. As such, he was to be given a bottle of whiskey, which all of them had signed and sealed with a dollar bill at their first meeting. This was presented to him along with a plaque that Memorial Day. A funny fact is that he never got to drink it as it had been opened by someone years earlier!
He built a house on Landing Street before moving to Pennsylvania with his second wife Edith Ritter. He had two daughters, a step son and several devoted grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He traveled and enjoyed collecting rocks and minerals. They moved to North Carolina where he worked at TransAmerica DeLaval and Discovery Place before retiring and volunteering there along with my Mom.
He and my Mom returned to his roots in Lumberton as often as they could, especially for the Memorial Day Parades which he loved. I think residents enjoyed seeing him in there, often holding a sign that read “MY FIRST PARADE WAS IN 1928”. He moved back to PA in and rode in the parades every year until 2018.
Lumberton always held a special place in my Dads heart, he led several walking tours of Lumberton and visited as much as possible. He always wanted people to hear his story and know about its roots.