John H. Runyon
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AGE: 68 • Somerville
John H. Runyon, 68, of Somerville, New Jersey, died Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013 in his residence. John was born on June 30, 1945 in Reading, Pennsylvania, son of James H. Runyon and Ruth Kantner Runyon. After graduating in 1963 from Twin Valley High School in Morgantown, Pennsylvania he attended Drew University in Madison, New Jersey where he was active in campus life serving as Student body President in his Senior year. He also studied in London during his Junior year while at Drew. Upon graduation from Drew in 1967 he attended Union Theological Seminary in New York City as Rockefeller Brothers Foundation Fellow. In 1968 he was selected as an Eagleton Fellow at the Eagleton institute of Politics at Rutgers University where he completed a masters degree in political science and pursued a doctorate in the same field. Later, while on the staff of the Eagleton Institute John was assistant to Alan Rosenthal (later Director of Eagleton) and Emmet John Hughes, journalist, speech writer for President Eisenhower and Newsweek columnist. In 1971 he left Eagleton to become the personal assistant to Edward J. Bloustein who had just been elected President of Rutgers University. During this time he was also elected as a Trustee of Drew University, serving a 4 year term. John left Rutgers in 1973 to become the part time assistant to the Mayor of East Brunswick, New Jersey and to pursue his doctorate in Political Science. He never wrote his dissertation but the research for it was published as the " Source Book of Presidential Campaign Statistics: 1948 - 1968" with a forward by Hubert Humphrey. The position with the Mayor of East Brunswick led to a nearly 20 year association with that community. John was the Business Administrator (City Manager) of East Brunswick for 11 years, Acting Mayor after the tragic Death of Mayor Jean Walling, later a Township Councilman and for 6 years Executive Director of the East Brunswick Chamber of Commerce.
John was very active in the East Brunswick community serving in numerous capacities. He was a founder and long time President of the East Brunswick Museum and a founder and officer of Playhouse 22. At one time Runyon was on the Board or an officer in more than 20 local organizations including the Middlesex County Fair for which he was active as its Master of ceremonies, an officer and trustee, in association with his dearest friend Grace M. Auer.
Runyon was active beyond the community with much work in water quality issues as Chairman of the Middlesex County 208 Water Quality Program and later as a member and chairman of the New Jersey Clean Water Council having been appointed to that position by Governor Brendon Byrne. After an illness in 1993 Runyon returned home to Pennsylvania and operated an Antiques and Collectibles business for 15 years before retiring.
Runyon married Drew classmate Sally Sutphen in 1967. Together they had a wonderful daughter Erica Ebersole. Erica and her husband Sean have two sons, Logan and Wyatt as well as Sean's son Tyler. John was a doting grandfather to all three boys. John was predeceased by his parents; his twin brother, James Runyon and his sister, Harriet Yenser. Runyon is survived by a sister, Ann Beatty and a niece and nephew, Patti Goodwin and Paul Allen Beatty and their families. Runyon is also survived by his nieces and their families, to whom he was especially close. These include Kelly Bock, Kathy Twigg and Kimberly Zalmanek.
Funeral services from Klee Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Inc., One East Lancaster Avenue, Shillington, PA 19607 on Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 10:00 AM. Interment in Christ Yocom's Lutheran Church Cemetery, Grill, PA. Friends may call Friday evening from 6 to 8pm.
Published in Home News Tribune on Dec. 5, 2013