Edward Vanderbeck

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Edward Vanderbeck, who lent his financial expertise to Oakland's Borough Council and Board of Education both of which he served as president died Sunday. He was 84.

The cause was a heart attack, his family said.

Mr. Vanderbeck graduated from Newark College of Engineering and worked as a Public Service Electric and Gas Co. analyst. The Fair Lawn native moved to Oakland in 1957 |and began public life there by winning election, in 1973, to the Borough Council. An independent, he was named finance chairman.

He took his local financial guardianship role seriously. Attending a 1976 school board meeting, the councilman accused a newly elected trustee of misrepresenting the tax implications of the school budget. Also in 1976, he sparred with a Republican council colleague, W. Cary Edwards, over Edwards' proposal to investigate local assessment methods; Mr. Vanderbeck said the proposal was not in taxpayers' best interests.

Mr. Vanderbeck narrowly lost a bid for mayor in 1975 and was defeated for reelection to the council the following year.

Campaigning for the school board in 1984, he stressed his long-standing interest in the school budget and noted that he had spoken at every school budget hearing. He won election and headed the board's finance committee during his 15-year tenure.

Mr. Vanderbeck's wife, Johanna, taught history at the borough's Valley Middle School. That allowed Mr. Vanderbeck to support the school district in other ways.

"Our mother ran a sock hop at the school, and Dad would typically be there to cut up the sandwiches," said Susan Steinhardt, the eldest of the couple's four children.

Steinhardt said her father, in his civic roles, "was all about the financials and holding people accountable."

Mr. Vanderbeck also was the longtime treasurer for the Oakland Historical Society. "If his balance was off by a penny, he couldn't have that," said the society's president, Klaus Angermueller.

In addition to his daughter, who lives in Cincinnati, Mr. Vanderbeck is survived by daughters Janet Vanderbeck of Washington Borough, Warren County, and Patricia DiGiorgio of Succasunna, and son Ed of Highland Lakes; his siblings, Robert Vanderbeck of Surprise, Ariz., Elsie DeBlock of Sussex and James Vanderbeck of Fair Lawn, and five granddaughters. His wife died in 2006.

The funeral will be held this morning fri at 10 at St. Mary's R.C. Church, Pompton Lakes. Burial will be in Maryrest Cemetery, Mahwah. Arrangements are under the direction of Oakland Memorial Home.

Email: levin@northjersey.com
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