Edwin R. Ver Hage, 88, a longtime resident of Pompton Plains, died on February 1, 2019 at Chilton Medical Center.
Born in Prospect Park, Ed was the son of Kryn and Henriette Ver Hage. Raised in Prospect Park, he was a 1949 graduate of Hawthorne High School. Soon after graduation, he began working for Sterling Tog in Paterson as a shipping clerk. In 1950, Ed married Barbara Courter, and together the couple settled in Pompton Plains, where she was from.
In 1955, Ed was drafted into the Army, and served four years while stationed in Germany. Returning home, he went back to work, employed by Braen Stone Industries. He started with the crew in the sandpit (what is now Woodland Lake in Pompton Plains), before becoming the Quarry Foreman in Haledon.
The Ver Hage family were longtime volunteer firemen, and so true to his heritage, Ed became a member of Pequannock Engine Co. 2 shortly after settling in Pequannock. There, he served as Chief for more than 20 years. He was instrumental in the start of the Morris County Fire Prevention Bureau, and served as the Fire Subcode Official for Pequannock, Kinnelon, Riverdale and Bloomingdale for many years. He was a member of the Morris County Fire Chief’s Association, the NJ Fire Chief’s Association, and the NJ Fireman’s Relief Association.
Every year, Ed would greatly enjoy spending time with his fellow firefighters at the NJ State Conventions held in Atlantic City and then Wildwood. In 1985, upon his retirement as Chief, Company 2 held a big dinner in recognition for his years of service to the Pequannock community, and Ed even received a signed letter from President Reagan.
During his tenure, Ed was also recognized as Pequannock Township’s Citizen of the Year and by the Morris County YMCA.
Ed greatly enjoyed traveling with his longtime companion, Phyllis Hughes. Together they enjoyed trips to visit Phyllis’ daughter in Hawaii, California and Arizona, but most fondly remember their big trip to Europe in 1995. Wanting to visit where he had been stationed in the Army, Ed and Phyllis saw the sights in Gonsenheim, Germany, before traveling to Holland to take in the spectacular fields of flowers the country is known for.
Although Ed never had any children of his own, he was a father figure to many. For years he entertained his nieces and nephews at Christmas, playing the part of Santa Claus. He loved and mentored Phyllis’ children too, and became a second father to them as well.
Since retiring, Ed continued to be active with Pequannock Engine Co. 2, and spent his time frequenting George's Diner in Lincoln Park and Tavern 5 in Pompton Plains, where he enjoyed dining with his brother, Richard.
Ed is lovingly survived by his longtime companion, Phyllis Hughes; his brother, Richard Ver Hage; and his “bonus family” (Phyllis’ children): Richard J. Hughes, Gary E. Hughes, Gerald H. Hughes and Cynthia P. Hughes-Madrid, as well as their children. He was predeceased by his wife, Barbara, his brother, Kryn Ver Hage, and his sister, Martina Kay.
A funeral service will be held 11 am Saturday, February 9, 2019 at the M. John Scanlan Funeral Home, Pompton Plains. Burial will follow at the First Reformed Church Cemetery, Pompton Plains. Visiting hours will be Friday, February 8 from 4 to 8 pm at the M. John Scanlan Funeral Home, Pompton Plains.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Ed’s memory can be made to Pequannock Twp. Engine Co. 2, PO Box 217, Pequannock, NJ 07440.