LINDEN – Paul W. Werkmeister, long time resident and former mayor, has been chosen as Linden’s 34th annual Outstanding Senior Citizen of the Year. This award is bestowed annually by the Linden Department of Public Property and Community Services upon the senior citizen who displayed the most exceptional service to the community and his/her fellow seniors during the year.
Paul Werkmeister was born on Aug. 6, 1923 in the City of Elizabeth. His family moved to Linden two short years later and Werkmeister has been a Lindenite since. He is a proud graduate of School #6, Linden Junior High and Linden High School, class of 1941. During his senior year, Werkmeister lettered as a member of Coach Cooper’s football team playing halfback and quarterback, and Coach Les Goodwin’s track team as a pole vaulter.
Not long after graduation, Werkmeister heard the calling of his country and joined the United States Army. He worked his way up the ranks to sergeant in the 1st Army, 422nd Regiment, 106th Infantry Division. During the Battle of the Bulge, his regiment was captured and forced to march 80 miles before being placed into cattle cars and transported for 10 days without food or water to Stalag 4B, south of Berlin. He spent the next four months as a prisoner of war until the Russian Army liberated the camp on April 23, 1945.
Returning home to Linden, Werkmeister married his high school sweetheart and fiancé, Lucille Wieser, the daughter of then Linden city clerk, Thomas J. Wieser, and settled in town to raise a family. Paul and Lucille are the proud parents of three daughters: Karen, Janet and Ann; six grandchildren: Jennifer, Rebecca, Mariel, Paul Thomas, John Paul and Michael and three great grandchildren, Peyton, Dillon and Tatum.
Werkmeister worked for Exxon USA Bayway Refinery and Exxon Marketing for 37 years, retiring in 1986 as a senior marketing real estate representative. During this same time, Werkmeister served his city as the councilman of the Ninth Ward from 1958 to 1973 and as the City of Linden labor negotiator from 1974 to 1986. He was elected mayor and served from 1987 to 1990.
During his Mayoral tenure, Werkmeister founded and was Inaugural President of the Union County League of Municipalities; and worked with Congressman Bernard J. Dwyer to release the restriction of Linden Airport allowing for development of the property.
Werkmeister is an active member of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Ex-prisoners of War, the Linden Moose, the Veterans of Foreign War, Post 102 of the American Legion and was the founder of the Linden Coalition for Political Action. A regular at Linden City Council meetings, Werkmeister was recommended for this honor because of his life long dedicated service to the betterment of the City of Linden and its residents.
All Linden residents are invited to attend the celebration honoring Paul Werkmeister as Linden’s Outstanding Senior Citizen of the Year on Friday, May 14, at the John T. Gregorio Recreation Center at 1 p.m. Refreshments will be served.
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