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Chester A. Zdrodowski

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(Home News Tribune)

Chester A. Zdrodowski died Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at Elms of Cranbury, Cranbury. Born on October 9, 1918, Chester was the youngest son of the late John and Stefania Zdrodowski. He was a life long resident of South River. Chester was a teacher and principal in the South River School District from September 1946 until retiring in December 1982. He served as Principal of the Willet School from 1959-1982. Chester graduated from South River High School in 1939 and while a student, he was a member of the Honor Group, Junior and Senior Class President and Captain of the Track Team in his senior year. In 1938, he was selected Center on the Group III All-State Football Team and later awarded a football scholarship to Manhattan College where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health and Physical Education. He later earned a Master's degree in School Administration at Rutgers University. While matriculating at Manhattan College, Chester was President of the St. Vincent De Paul Society, and a member of the band, Guard of Honor and the Pen and Sword Honor Group. In 1943, he began a three year hitch in the U.S. Navy where he was a member of Gene Tunney's Physical Fitness Program.
He and Amelia Luithardt were married in 1943 and on September 25, 1993, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Amelia passed away on October 30, 1993. Chester dedicated most of most of his life to recreation programs for the youth of South River. He was appointed director of the South River Recreation Center and for seventeen years, he taught children to swim at Bissett's and Daily's ponds. He organized Easter Egg hunts, Youth Groups, Saturday Night Rec Dances, High School Night every Wednesday night and a variety of summer activities. During his days off, he served as "early morning crew supervisor" at Island Beach State Park, a position he held for 24 years. He served as Mayor of South River in 1964-65.
For the past 45 years, he was a football official on the high school and college levels. In 1976, he worked the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia. In 1977, at the age of fifty-seven, he was required to come off the field so he served as a college football game clock operator in Rutgers University and all college level football games at the Meadowlands. In 1981, he was honored as the recipient of the Distinguished American Award by Bill Denny Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. Chester was a member of many clubs and organizations as well, which included the National Association of Elementary School Principals, NJ Principals and Supervisors Association, Past President of South River Education Association, NJ Education Association, National Education Association, Middlesex County Education Association, Life Member of the NJ Congress of P.T.A., Past President of South River Lions Club, South River American Legion Post 214, South River Elks, Polish Union of the USA Group 155, Charter Member of the Bill Denny Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, NJ Football Officials Association, Rutgers University Graduate School of Education, National Federal -Interscholastic Officials Association, South River Public Library, South River Baseball Old Timer's Group, and South River Historical & Preservation Society.
He was predeceased by his wife, who died October 30, 1993; his brothers, Frank and Sigmund, and his sisters, Ann Cislo and Sophie Groboski. He is survived by his brother, Adam, of Hackettstown, and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
Services and interment will be private at the request of the family. Arrangements were under the care of Rezem Funeral Home, 457 Cranbury Road, East Brunswick, NJ, 08816. For online condolences to the family or directions to the funeral home, visit

Published in Home News Tribune on Mar. 29, 2009
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