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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Make Room for the Creans

I'm pleased to report that the next edition of the Bass River Gazette will be out in a few short days. Hard copies will be mailed out to our subscribers and placed on the New Gretna Post Office bulletin board. It will also be posted on our Bass River History Web Site, so keep your eyes opened.

I am thankful for the people who send in letters and information for the Gazette. I am not always able to fit all of the information I am sent into the next issue. Such was the case with a letter I received from Eddie Crean about his grandparents, Robert and Evelyn Crean, who were an important part of New Gretna history. Unfortunately, I didn't have room for the "Letters to the Editor" column in this edition as I had planned. My apologies to Eddie; however, the Blog is a great place to make room for people and information that didn't make it into the latest Gazette edition. So, today we make room for the Creans here at the Blog.

I received the following letter from Eddie some time ago.

Dear Mr. Stemmer,

I read several back issues of the Bass River Gazette and there were some great stories and great memories in them but there was some memories missing and they are about my grandparents Robert and Evelyn Crean from New Gretna, N.J., and I would like to share some of them with you and the other readers of the Bass River Gazette,the information below was given to me by my mother Doris Crean and my father and son of Robert Crean Edward Crean.

In the 1960's and 1970's my grandparents were members of the Old Home Society and they worked very hard on maintenance of the Hillside Cemetery and when I was a child I used to help them cut the lawn and pull weeds around the tombstones. They are both buried at Hillside now along with my oldest sister, Ruth Crean Urban.

My Grandfather was a one time fire chief of the New Gretna volunteer fire company and my grandmother was a member of the ladies auxiliary. My grandfather also worked for the Burlington County Road Department and spent many hours plowing the roads when it snowed, fixing potholes, and several other jobs to keep the roads in great shape. They were both very well known and important residents of New Gretna and when my grandfather died members of the fire company, along with one of the fire trucks and the entire funeral procession, circled their home next to Cramer's junkyard on route 542 as a final goodbye. It was very sad, but he would have been very proud.

We miss my grandparents very much, but we will never forget them and they will be in our hearts, minds and memories forever.

Ed Crean

Robert and Evelyn Crean lived in a modest house on Hammonton Road next to Cramer's Auto Recycling yard and within walking distance to Hillside Cemetery. (March 25, 2009 photo by Pete Stemmer.)

Eddie, I can see that you loved your grandparents very much. I certainly know that they were an important part of New Gretna history. I am presently a Trustee in the New Gretna Old Home Society, the organization that owns and maintains Miller and Hillside Cemeteries in New Gretna, and have heard many stories from the New Gretna old timers about the time and loving care that your grandparents gave in keeping Hillside Cemetery always looking well kept. It was not unusual for someone visiting Hillside Cemetery in the old days to see Robert and Evelyn Crean working to keep the cemetery looking ship shape.

The main entrance to Hillside Cemetery located on Hillside Avenue in the Frogtown section of Bass River Township. The old Methodist Church once stood at the site mark by the present flagpole and bronze plaque. (July 26, 2007 photo by Pete Stemmer.)

Robert and Evelyn Crean are buried in Hillside Cemetery. (March 25, 2009 photo by Pete Stemmer.)

The veteran's stone at the foot of Robert Crean's grave commemorates his service to his country during World War II. (March 25, 2009 photo by Pete Stemmer.)

I'm sure that the New Gretna old timers also remember your grandfather working throughout the township on the County road crew and both Robert and Evelyn working hard on some Fire Company event, including the annual Clam Bakes that were so well attended and enjoyed over the years. Following are two newspaper photos showing the Creans hard at work during a clambake in the 1950's.

Well, Eddie, thank you for sharing some memories of your grandparents, and I hope you enjoyed seeing them on the Blog. Hopefully, it brought back some fond memories for you and for some of our regular old time New Gretna Blog readers.

Pete S

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