From diners to the Garden State Parkway the Garden State of New Jersey is known for many of the country’s finest experiences and celebrities. The New Jersey Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony acknowledges those who have dedicated their lives to excelling in their industry and who have made an impact on the beauty that is New Jersey.
This was the 11th Class for the New Jersey Hall of Fame and the Class of 2018. The class included 19 honorees who have crossed the boundaries in arts, enterprise, preforming arts, sports, and public service. These great men and women all gathered on October 27th in the historic Paramount Theater in Asbury Park.
The red carpet was laid out in the center of the Asbury Park Convention Center. The stars walked out with style from the latest designers. Making an appearance on the red carpet were stats like Darlene Love, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Bolton. Also stepping out on to the red carpet was former New Jersey Governor, Tom Kean. These stars have been to multiple New Jersey Hall of Fame events, with Buzz Aldrin making nine of the eleven ceremonies.
After the fun on the red carpet, the crowd approached the grand Paramount Theater with a sold-out crowd of fans. Opening up the ceremony was the famous singer Darlene Love who electrified the stage with her outstanding performance. Joining her on stage is the famous New Jersey icon and inductee Tim Mcloone who perform yearly for Holiday Express. Following the beautiful act current New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy accompanied by his wife Tammy Murphy and the NJHOF President Steve Edwards greeted the audience to begin the ceremony. They expressed their honor and pleasure in congratulating the members of the 11th class. The class included 19 inductees.
Peter Benchley – The man who scared millions from going to the beach, the creator of the iconic shark story, Jaws. The writer and marine biologist lived a long life exploring and writing about his love for sharks. Sadly the Princeton resident passed in 2006 but his lovely wife Wendy Benchley accepted the award. She talked about their life after Jaws and her fond memories they made together.
Jerry Izenberg – A man who as covered every single Super Bowl alongside hundreds of iconic sporting events throughout several decades. The Newark native is one of the most iconic sports reporters in the country. Presenting the award was former Rutgers Football Coach Greg Schiano. He spoke about his fair writing and the fond memories the two shared over their time working together. Sadly, Jerry now lives in Nevada but misses the beauty that is NJ.
George R.R. Martin – The writer who has got us rooting for the fire and ice kingdoms. The Game of Thrones writer remembers his time growing up in the projects of Bayonne, NJ. He spoke on his start to writing. In his youth, he wrote horror and monster stories for pocket change. He then spoke about his childhood pets, turtles. Unfortunately, the turtles kept passing on and to explain their constant disappearances he wrote that they were in battle with one another fighting to be the ruler. Presenting the award was Met’s third baseman Todd Frazier and former baseball star Ed Kranepool.
Tim White – This iconic photographer has brought stylish portraits to celebrities from around the countries from Sylvester Stalone to Nicholas Cage. Presenting the award was one of his clients the legendary comedian and actress, Whoppie Goldberg. Whoppie spoke about her time working with Tim and his beauty that he captures as an accomplished photographer. Accepting his award Tim spoke about he odd it felt being on the other side of the camera. He spoke about his childhood growing up in Fort Lee and how his photography work has allowed him to travel around the world.
J. Fletcher Creamer Sr. – This longtime Saddle Brook resident had built one of the largest construction company contractors in the nation. From 1923 the company grew taking on awe-inspiring projects. Also, he served in both WWII and the Korean Wars. His legacy is lived on by his sons who took the stage to accept the award for their late father.
F.M. Kirby II – This legendary philanthropist and business genius took his father’s Alleghany Corporation from a large Railroad company to an insurance and investment giant. He also started a foundation in his family that has raised over 440 million dollars throughout his lifetime. His foundation helps expand education here in NJ, the arts, and humanities among others.
Mary Roebling – Though she was born in Collingswood, Trenton was her adopted hometown. This business leader was the first woman to head a bank. her efforts in expanded the roles for women in the workforce were unmatched as her leadership as she nominated the most influential women of the century. Her efforts also helped create the Maternal Health Care Center in Trenton and the American Institue of Banking. Her award was given out by the current New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy.
Arthur Ryan – The leader of the financial giant Prudential has brought success to the town of Newark. When many doubted his decision to move the group to the city of Newark he moved forward. His love for Newark also added to the creation of the famous New Jersey Performing Arts Center. The company has donated over $6.5 million to the arts center.
Elizabeth Allen – This longtime educator for New Jersey has brought the garden state to the academic excellence we know of today. Serving as the first female president of the New Jersey Education Association. Spending 48-years in the Hoboken School District her outspoken and dedication for Women’s education will always be remembered. Her award was given to the current female president of the NJEA, Marie Blisten.
Dr. Victor Pasonnet – New Jersey is known for many advances in sciences and healthcare. Adding to those many achievements was Dr. Victor Pasonnet. As an advancing surgeon, philanthropist, and art lover he added to the rich history of the Garden State. As the chief surgeon for Newark Beth Israel, he performed the first pacemaker surgery and performed the first heart and kidney transplant. The Deal native was graciously awarded on stage. He thanked the many who helped him in his career.
Anne Donovan – Born in Ridgewood, NJ this basketball legend paved the way for female athletes across the county including the state’s very own Seton Hall University. Her efforts and skill eventually lead her to the Olympics as she coached the U.S. gold medal-winning basketball team in 2008. This was not her first time at the Olympics as she played on the same team in 1980 and took home another gold medal.
Bart Oates – Holding three Super Bowl wins is former Giants player Bart Oates. His career has included dozens of accomplishments one of which being already inducted into the New Jersey Sports Hall of Fame. Now the retired Gaint works actively in many civic and community roles.
Laurie Hernandez – This young sports star at the age of 19 took home gold in the Olympics and the Mirrorball Trophy for Gymnastics. Born in Old Bridge, she is one of the youngest inductees in New Jersey Hall of Fame history. She graciously accepted her award and spoke about her love for the Garden State. She mentioned her Wawa runs with her brothers and her strong family ties that supported her decision to achieve greatness in gymnastics.
Harry Carson – One of the most legendary football players of all time. This Giants linebacker has written several books and has made many generous contributions to numerous charities in New Jersey. He has also spent time researching and pushing for new efforts in improving concussion improvements. He accepted his award and thanked his mother for without her he would not have been in the person we know today.
Tim McLoone – If you live in New Jersey, chances are you have heard the name Mcloone’s. The singer, artist, business owner, and charity organizer has created a lifetime of accomplishments throughout the Garden State. Known as the modern Renaissance man, has to lead many works including Holiday Express that delivers music, food, gifts, financial support and friendship to those with the greatest need for the gift of human kindness. Tim also opened up the ceremony with Darlene Love on the keyboards and performed a moving song with five children with disabilities who song with excellence and enthusiasm the song “Learning to Fly”. While accepting his award he thanked his family and children as he described the many hours he has dedicated to making the world and New Jersey a better place.
Martha Stewart – Known as one of the most famous and influential women on television, Martha remembers her start in the great state of New Jersey. Born in Nutley, she started her career modeling. She then became a household name with her hit cooking tips and home decorating advice. Introducing her was a fellow colleague and TV host, Dr. Oz. he spoke of the many times the two have worked together. She came out on the stage with a smile that she is known so well for. She remebered many memories and how she comes to visit the Garden State often.
The Smithereens – Making a name in the town Caretert the Smithereens have been rocking the Garden State for decades. In the 1980’s they defined the sound of Jersey rock and roll. Founding members, Jim Babjak (Lead Guitar), Dennis Diken (drums), Mike Mesaros (bass), and the late Pat DiNizio (vocal). The three-band members were joined by DiNizio’s daughter on stage to accept their award. They spoke about their start in Carteret remembering many of their first gigs and the sad loss of lead singer Pat. To close the ceremony The Smithereens got the crowd out of their seats with some rock hits. You could feel the ground rumbling under your feet from the excitement of the audience.
Southside Johnny – One of the Jersey Shore’s most iconic singers and music artists from Neptune has spent well over 40 years performing and is now a member of the New Jersey Hall of Fame. Known for playing with the Asbury Jukes and other famous artists such as Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi. There to present his award was the man himself, Jon Bon Jovi. The two then shocked the crowd with an outstanding music performance of ” I don’t want to go home”. The two musicians rocked the stage together not missing a beat. The joy was obvious in both Southside Johnny and Bon Jovi who embraced at the end of the song.
Jason Alexander – It doesn’t get any funnier than the famous Seinfeld actor Jason Alexander. Actor, Musician, Comedian, Magician, and Professional Poker player ended the ceremony with nothing but laughs. With some of the funniest jokes, Jason glowed on stage as he accepted his award from his Livingston High School Performing Arts teacher.
The ceremony was a historic night for all New Jerseians. The New Jersey Hall of Fame talked about their new home in the American Dream Facility in Rutherford that will feature state-of-the-art interactive holographic projections and historic memorabilia for the Garden State.
We are all proud to be apart of New Jersey and it’s amazing legacy.