BOONTON — Boonton’s hometown hero, World War II tail gunner Stephen Bolcar, celebrated his 100th birthday over the weekend in style – as Morris County Sheriff for Day on a day named in his honor as Stephen J. Bolcar Day in Morris County.
Morris County Sheriff Jim Gannon picked up his guest of honor late Saturday afternoon in his vintage police patrol car and wheeled his “Honorary Sheriff’’ to Johnny’s Tavern in Boonton, where the birthday boy was feted by a host of friends and dignitaries.
He received a proclamation from Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, along with a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol; and a proclamation from the Morris County Board of Freeholders, presented by County Administrator and Boonton native John Bonanni, proclaiming Saturday as Stephen J. Bolcar Day in Morris County.
Also greeting the guest of honor was Assemblyman Anthony Bucco and Boonton Mayor Matt DiLauri, among others.
“Mr. Bolcar has been a lifelong friend of the Gannon family, and to me personally. As a young police officer in Boonton, he always spent time with me and gave me advice on my career,’’ said Sheriff Gannon. “He always has been a supporter of what is right. He holds people to a very high standard.
“During my candidacy for Sheriff, he worked with me on a daily basis. He has always been there for me and I will always be there for him.
“He is a most conscientious person and a huge part of the Greatest Generation of Americans. I salute him and tip my cap.’’
Stephen Bolcar was born in Paterson on August 3, 1917. His mother, Julia, died in 1919 during the Great Influenza Outbreak, and he was raised by his grandparents in Paterson, where he attended one year of high school before going to work to help support the family during the Great Depression.
He began military service six months prior to the nation’s entry into World War II, joining the U.S. Army Air Corps. He served in battles and campaigns throughout Europe, and received numerous decorations, including the European-African-Middle Eastern Service Medal, with three bronze stars; and the Croix de Guerre, awarded by France, among others.
Following his discharge in 1945, he married Emily Westura, who was his wife for 64 years before her passing in 2010, and the couple settled in their home at 413 Boonton Avenue in Boonton, where they raised their family, including children Judy, Stephen, and Allen.
Stephen retired from RFL (Radio Frequency Laboratories) in 1983, and was a staunch supporter of his community, serving as a Boonton Alderman and Police Commissioner, VFW member and post commander, member of the Knights of Columbus, usher at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, active in Boy Scout activities, and was named Citizen of the Year in Boonton in 2016.
The board of freeholders, in their resolution, stated: “Whereas he has a tremendous love of family, including seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren, and a great love for the town of Boonton, and is greatly deserving of this honor.
“Now, therefore, be it resolved the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders proclaims August 5, 2017 as Stephen J. Bolcar Day in Morris County, and joins with his family and friends to also extend its warmest on the joyous occasion of his 100th birthday.’’