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John Spring, 98, Cresskill Historian

John E. Spring
John E. Spring Photo Credit: Submitted

CRESSKILL, N.J. -- John E. Spring, longtime Cresskill and Bergen County historian, died Nov. 23 in Waterbury, Conn. He was 98.

Born April 13, 1917, to the late Rev. Dr. John C. Spring and Estella Conaway Spring in Steubenville, Ohio, he went on to get a degree in history and political science from Wooster College in Ohio.

He moved to Dumont and Englewood, N.J., where he became a machinist apprentice, then worked for Alcoa Corp. in Edgewater for 35 years.

Around the same time, he became active in research and education of New Jersey history, particularly historic events in northern New Jersey. He served as Cresskill’s town historian from 1984 to 2010 and received award-winning publication and support from the Bergen County Historical Society, Palisades Interstate Park Commission and the New Jersey Legislature. 

His worked looked at the New Jersey history from the 16th to 20th century, including Cornwallis’ approach to Fort Lee and Washington’s retreat on November 20, 1776 via Lower Closter (New) Dock Landing, later known as Huyler’s Landing Road through Cresskill. 

He also researched the early settlement of Skunk Hollow on the Palisades in Rockleigh by freed black slaves; the World War I Army embarkation encampment of Camp Merritt in Cresskill; and the March of Death flu epidemic suffered by Camp Merritt World War I soldiers marching to the Port of Hoboken to be transported to the European front.

He was predeceased by his wife, Sonja (Litwinowich) Spring, to whom he was married for 52 years until her passing in 2000. He was also predeceased by his sister, Elisabeth Woolley; and his brother, Harold Spring, who died in action serving the Army in World War II.

He's survived by his son, Gary Spring and his wife Dr. Marie Solazzo of Naugatuck, Conn.; his daughter, Dr. Bonnie Spring of Chicago; a grandson, Daniel Spring of Naugatuck, Conn.; and two granddaughters, Heather Spring of Danbury, Conn., and Heidi Spring of Chicago. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Alzheimer's Association of Connecticut, Bergen County Historical Society or Palisades Interstate Park Commission.


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