PARSIPPANY — Parsippany-Troy Hills Mayor Michael Soriano presented the family of Henry N. Luther, III, with a Proclamation on Tuesday, February 6 at Parsippany Municipal Building, 1001 Parsippany Boulevard. The Mayor and Mayor Michael Luther unveiled a plaque in honor of Henry N. Luther, III, which will remain on the wall at the Municipal Building.
Friends, Relatives, Township Employees, Mayor Mimi Letts, residents were among the many attending the unveiling of the plaque.
Luther, a well-respected attorney and statesman, died peacefully on Saturday, May 13, 2017.
He will always be remembered as a man of integrity. He was born in Teaneck to a railroad engineer, Henry N. Luther, Jr. and a housewife, Mary (nee Phelan).
He was raised in Jersey City. In his youth, he developed a love of swimming that he kept all of his life. He was recognized as a Lincoln High School and Jersey City YMCA champion. He held many jobs as a lifeguard, including a stint at the famed salt-water pool at Palisades Amusement Park.
He was elected to the Township Council in 1966 and then selected to be the Council President. Upon the untimely death of Mayor John E.J. Walsh, Henry was appointed to fill the unexpired term of the late mayor. He was then elected in a general election in 1967 and re-elected in 1969. Although he was a popular mayor he did not run for re-election in 1973, because he believed that elective office should not be a lifetime appointment.
After completing his second term as Mayor, he resumed the practice of law, but only briefly. In 1975, he went to Trenton for the first of several jobs in the administration of Governor Brendan T. Byrne. Henry first served as Director of the Lottery Commission, then was asked to serve as the Governor’s Executive Secretary. In 1977, he left State government to serve as Campaign Manager for Governor Brendan T. Byrne’s re-election campaign. After leading the Byrne campaign to victory, he returned to the practice of law with a well-established Morristown law firm, that was renamed Dillon Bitar and Luther. When Mimi Letts became Mayor of Parsippany in 1994, she appointed Dillon, Bitar & Luther as the Township Attorney.
On December 9, 1977, Henry was sworn in as the New Jersey Commissioner for The Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, a bi-state agency. In nominating Henry, Governor Byrne said he was recognizing Henry’s skill as an administrator, mediator and negotiator, which would assure that the public interest would be well represented. At the time, Henry down-played his talents and told a reporter that he was reluctant to take the position because he gets seasick. He told the Governor he would only take the appointment if he was assured he would not have to board any ships. He served on The Waterfront Commission until 1983.
His greatest role in life began in 1982 when he became “Poppy.” He zealously accepted the role as a lifetime appointment. While he was very accomplished at his prior positions, he was unrivaled as Poppy. Many people, who witnessed or were regaled with his adventures with his grandchildren joked, “In my next life I want to come back as one of Henry’s grandchildren.” Henry loved to play cards with his grandchildren. It would start as a match game when they were young, with two or three cards, and eventually they all would play 10-card Gin Rummy. He also had a love for the New York Times crossword puzzle, which the grandchildren also came to love. He always stressed the importance of reading to his children and grandchildren. Whether it was a newspaper or a book (or two) he always had something to read wherever he went.
The proclamation read:
Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills Proclamation
Whereas, the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills honors the late Henry N. Luther III as an extraordinary example of a man who dedicated his life to public service, in his town, state, and country.
Whereas, we commend his recognition as Outstanding Member of his platoon in the United States Marine Corps, as well as a recipient of the Good Conduct Medal on January 16, 1955 while serving in the Korean conflict, after which he was honorably discharged with the rank of Sergeant.
Whereas, the residents of Parsippany elected Henry N. Luther to the Township Council in 1966 and was elected as Mayor in 1967 and re-elected in 1973.
Now, Therefore, I, Michael A. Soriano, Mayor of the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills, do hereby proclaim the first Monday of June as Henry N. Luther III Day.
Dated this 6th day of February, 2018.