NJ Hall of Fame

Sister Jane Frances Brady

Hospital administrator

Born: November 14, 1935, in White Plains, New York

New Jersey Hall of Fame, Class of 2019-20: Public Service

When Sister Jane Frances Brady was named president and CEO of what was then St. Joseph’s Hospital in 1972, it was rare to find a woman running a major health facility. She remained in the post for almost three decades, leading the Paterson-based facility through a period of extraordinary growth.

Raised in Westchester County, north of New York City, Sister Jane attended the College of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station, New Jersey, graduating with honors. She later received an M.B.A. degree from Seton Hall University and a master’s degree in public health from the Columbia University School of Public Health and Administrative Medicine.

Sister Jane worked briefly for AT&T before entering the Sisters of Charity, the order that founded St. Joseph’s. She served as assistant administrator of clinical services until her appointment as chief executive.

St. Joseph’s mission has always been to care for the poor, for immigrants and for children. During Sister Jane’s tenure, the hospital was transformed into St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, with an array of new programs and satellite facilities. Innovations included a Level 2 trauma center; a large renal-dialysis program; a neonatal intensive care unit; a pediatric intensive care unit; and a network of pediatric specialty offices in Bergen and Passaic counties. 

As president of the Hospital Alliance of New Jersey, Sister Jane lobbied in Trenton for expanded health-care access for the poor. She also has organized medical relief trips around the world through the New Jersey chapter of Healing the Children, a national organization that provides health care to needy children. 

Following her retirement from St. Joseph’s in 1999, Sister Jane spent 10 years as a volunteer and board member at Children’s Specialized Hospital in Mountainside, New Jersey. She also served as a court-appointed special advocate (C.A.S.A.) in the Morris County Family Court.

Linda Bowden

 

“I am a Jersey girl to the core,” says Linda Bowden. “It’s something I’m very proud of.” Indeed, Bowden traces her Jersey roots back to several of her great-great-grandparents.

Bowden began her career as a teacher for seven years in Wyckoff. She also wrote two children’s math books. Moving into banking, she joined Wachovia Bank in 1991. She served there for 16 years, rising to wealth managing director.

In 2009, Bowden joined PNC Bank as New Jersey regional president, a position she held until her retirement in 2021. During her tenure, Bowden consistently led her market to double-digit growth, making it one of PNC’s top-performing regions. She has received recognition among the “25 Women to Watch” by US Banker magazine, and appeared on the NJBIZ newspaper’s “Best 50 Women in Business” and “Power 100” lists.

Beyond her skills as a banker, Bowden is celebrated for her community involvement and her bright and supportive spirit. “She is just the kindest person I’ve ever known,” fellow businesswoman Sally Glick told ROI in 2020. “She’s just a shining star.”

Bowden was elected chair of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors in 2019; she had previously served for two years as the board’s first vice chair and had been board member since 2009.

Additionally, Bowden has served on the board of the Drumthwacket Foundation and the executive committees of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and Choose New Jersey. She also has seats on various boards at Jersey Central Power & Light; Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine; the New Jersey Performing Arts Center; and Fairleigh Dickinson University.

John Amos

 

Known best for his roles in Good Times, Roots, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The West Wing, and The District, Amos is a multiple award-winning actor born in Newark and raised in East Orange, New Jersey. Before making his big break as a television and Broadway performer, Amos attended college and played football at Colorado State. He qualified as a social worker with a degree in sociology and was a Golden Glove boxing champion. Amos also played football professionally in both the American and Continental Football Leagues. He credits Kansas City Chiefs Coach Hank Stram for pushing him in towards writing after being released from his training camp. Amos is a veteran of the 50th Armored Division of the New Jersey National Guard and Honorary Master Chief of the United States Coast Guard.

 

Joyce Kilmer

Poet, journalist, essayist and lecturer

Born: December 7, 1886, in New Brunswick, New Jersey

Died: July 30, 1918, near Marne, France

New Jersey Hall of Fame, Class of 2019-20: Arts & Letters

The poem “Trees” is only 12 lines long but it has developed deep roots as one of America’s best-remembered and often-taught pieces of rhyme. When published in August 2013, it made a literary star of its author, Joyce Kilmer, then a 26-year-old resident of Mahwah.

Kilmer’s mother was a writer and composer; his father, a Johnson & Johnson physician/analytical chemist, invented the company’s baby powder, Alfred Joyce Kilmer began his higher education at Rutgers College (now University), where he was associate editor of the Targum, the campus newspaper. He transferred to Columbia University and received his bachelor or arts degree in 1908.

After graduation, Kilmer taught Latin at Morristown High School and wrote book reviews for several publications, including The New York Times. He left teaching and took a job in New York City as a dictionary editor. He later worked as a special writer for The New York Times Review of Books and The New York Times Sunday Magazine.

In 1912, Kilmer and his wife, Aline, settled in Mahwah in a small white house on Airmount Road. Here, Kilmer could write in an upstairs room looking out on a grove of trees, “from mature trees to thin saplings,” his eldest son, Kenton, later recalled. 

On February 2, 1913, inspired by his upstairs view, Kilmer wrote the 12 lines that would make him famous, beginning, 

I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree. 

Published in a poetry collection later that year, “Trees” took Kilmer by surprise, as it “caught fire around the world,” Kilmer expert Alex Michelini, founder of the Joyce Kilmer Society of Mahwah, told New Jersey Monthly in 2013.

Newly famous, Kilmer continued to write and edit and maintained a busy schedule as a lecturer. Immensely popular, he published numerous collections of essays and poems, including another widely heralded poem, “The House With Nobody in It.” 

At the height of Kilmer’s fame, the United States entered World War I and Kilmer enlisted as a private in the National Guard. Assigned to the 69th Infantry Regiment (known as the Fighting 69th), he rose to the rank of sergeant. Before heading overseas, he signed with a publisher to write a chronicle of his wartime experiences. The book was never written, but one memorable Kilmer poem, “Rouge Bouquet,” emerged from Kilmer’s time in combat in Europe.

In July 1918, during the Second Battle of the Marne, Kilmer, by then a member of the military intelligence section of his regiment, undertook a scouting mission in search of a German machine gun position. Advancing to the top of a hill he was struck in the head and killed by a sniper’s bullet.

Today, Joyce Kilmer’s name adorns numerous schools and parks around the country, including a memorial forest in North Carolina and Joyce Kilmer Park in New Brunswick.

Rick Barry

Pro basketball star

Born: March 28, 1944, in Elizabeth, New Jersey

Grew up in: Roselle Park, New Jersey

New Jersey Hall of Fame, Class of 2019-20: Sports

Richard Francis Dennis Barry III—better known as Rick Barry—enjoyed his first taste of basketball stardom at Roselle Park High School, where he was a two-time all-state selection. He would go on to become one of the top scorers in the history of professional basketball.

After graduating from Roselle Park, Barry attended the University of Miami, gaining national recognition as a three-time All-American. As a senior, he led the NCAA in scoring with a 37.4 average per game. The San Francisco Warriors of the National Basketball Association selected Barry with the second pick of the 1965 player draft. (Princeton star Bill Bradley went with the first pick to the New York Knicks.)

The 6-foot-7 Barry won NBA Rookie of the Year honors in 1966 with the Warriors, averaging better than 25 points per game. The following year, Barry, a small forward, helped lead the Warriors to the NBA finals. His team lost the six-game series to the Philadelphia 76ers, but Barry averaged an amazing 40.8 points per game, including a 55-point performance in game 3.

Before the 1968 season, Barry had a falling out with Warriors’ ownership and jumped to the Oakland Oaks in the NBA-rival American Basketball Association. Playing for four different ABA teams over the next five seasons, Barry became the all-time leading ABA scorer in the regular and the post-season.

Barry returned to the Warriors for the 1972-73 season. Two years later led the team to the division championship, averaging 30.6 points per game in the regular season. He went on to be named MVP of NBA finals as the underdog Warriors engineered a surprising four-game sweep of the Washington Bullets in the championship round. 

Barry remained with his original franchise through the 1977-78 campaign. Throughout his tenure with the Warriors, Barry reigned as one of the league’s top scorers, averaging at least 21 points per game every season. He was also renowned as a sensational free-throw shooter. Using an unorthodox underhand shot from the foul line, Barry led the NBA in free-throw percentage six times during his NBA career.

Closing out his career with two seasons with the Houston Rockets, Barry continued to amaze from the free-throw line. In the 1978-79 season he had a career-high .947 free-throw percentage—a league record at the time. Barry retired in 1980, an eight-time NBA All-Star who scored 50 or more points 15 times in his NBA career, fifth most in league history.

Following his playing career, Barry coached for several seasons and made a successful transition to broadcasting with CBS, TBS and TNT.

Fran Lebowitz

Author, public speaker, occasional actress

Born: October 27, 1950 in Morristown, New Jersey

Lives In: New York City

New Jersey Hall of Fame, Class of 2019-20: Arts & Letters

Fran Lebowitz is a genre of one—a social commentator whose acerbic view of modern society is punctuated by a self-deprecating wit that has endeared her to readers and audiences for decades.

Although Lebowitz is best-known as an observer of urban life, her own life started in the suburbs. The daughter of furniture-store proprietors, she never seemed to live up to middle-class expectations. After what she has described as a happy childhood, she turned into an unhappy teenager. She was expelled from an Episcopalian day school and later suspended from Morristown High School for sneaking out of pep rallies. 

City life looked more appealing. “From the age of 13, I was plotting to get to New York,” Lebowitz told New Jersey Monthly in 2020. Skipping college, she headed to Manhattan and scraped by working odd jobs. She drove a taxi, cleaned apartments and, at 21, landed a position selling advertising space for a small magazine called Changes. Once in the door, she began to pen book and movie reviews. 

Lebowitz’s big break came when Andy Warhol hired her as a columnist for his magazine, Interview. Next came a writing job at Mademoiselle. Her first book, “Metropolitan Life,” a collection or her wise-cracking, opinionated essays from the period, became a best-seller. A second successful collection, “Social Studies,” followed.

The books turned Lebowitz into a celebrity, as recognizable for her signature man-tailored wardrobe as her pet peeves and observational humor. She became a regular on TV talk shows and a popular public speaker, as well as an occasional actress, with a recurring role as a judge on TV’s “Law & Order” from 2001-2007. 

Lebowitz has confessed to suffering from a writer’s block that has limited her presence on bookshelves. However, in recent years her public persona has continued to grow, thanks largely to “Public Speaking,” director Martin Scorsese’s 2010 HBO documentary about Lebowitz. In 2021, “Pretend It’s a City,” a limited Netflix documentary series, again with Scorsese, gave Lebowitz a widely seen platform for her still-cutting commentaries.

It can hardly be said the Lebowitz has mellowed with age. When asked by New Jersey Monthly how it felt about turning 70, she replied: “Very bad. Anyone who tells you something different is lying.”

 

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