Archive for September, 2017

Silver Anniversary

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Last week, perhaps in remembrance of the victims of September 11, someone is Bernardsville adorned the Millicent Fenwick statue with a red, white, and blue scarf as captured in the photo above by Debbie Weisman for The Bernardsville News.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years since Millicent Fenwick passed away quietly in her Bernardsville home on September 16, 1992. ¬†She died much as she lived; her way. She was 82-years-old and age was taking its toll on her frail body. She had emphysema, arterial disease and deteriorating eyesight.

Realizing that her body was failing her, there were three things she wanted to do before she died. She wanted to see a dear friend of hers, Jane Engelhard, widow of Charles W.Engelhard, Jr., a metal magnate worth millions who owned thoroughbreds, including the 1970 English Triple Crown Winner. He also knew Ian Fleming and the James Bond character, Goldfinger, is said to be based on Engelhard. Jane split her time between several homes, including one in neighboring Far Hills, NJ. She returned to New Jersey to pay a visit to Fenwick on the afternoon of September 15.

The day before, on September 14, Fenwick accomplished the second thing on her list; to donate a diamond and emerald ring which she inherited. The ring has been given to her cousin by Lord William Waldorf Astor and was appraised at $13,000. Fenwick wanted to donate the ring to the Newark Museum, but the director of the museum had been on vacation and didn’t return until September 14. Fenwick wasted no time in calling him that day and made arrangements to not only donate the ring, but to have the museum pick-up the ring that day and bring her a dated receipt. The Newark Museum later sold the ring at auction for $49,000 and created a jewelry section in the museum.

The last thing Fenwick wanted to do before she died, was to pay all her bills including her quarterly taxes. That was easier to accomplish. With the bills paid, the ring donated, and the visit with Jane Engelhard, Fenwick had accomplished everything on her list.

Next, on the evening of September 15, she called a registered nurse to come over and relieve her caregiver of two years. Fenwick knew that according to New Jersey law only a doctor or registered nurse could sign a death certificate. Her regular caregiver was a licensed practical nurse, not a registered nurse. In the predawn hours of Wednesday, September 16, with the registered nurse at her home, Fenwick passed away on her own terms. She lived a full life, but she was ready to leave this earth. For her epitaph she chose this passage from Micah “Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God.”

 

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