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DeGraff Lakehurst Funeral Home
119 Union Ave.
Lakehurst, NJ 08733
732-657-7868     Read Obituaries Pre-Need

Daniel J. Wacker of Toms River, age 93, died February 11, 2018 at Holiday City Nursing Home. He was born in Newark, New Jersey to Ida and Charles Wacker. He lived in Kendall Park before moving to Toms River in 2000. He graduated from high school in 1943 and served three years in the U. S. Navy with overseas duty with the Seabees in the Philippines and Japan. Returning home, he was able to do five years in four years of college, graduating from Montclair College with a Master’s Degree in English. Daniel served in the U.S. Navy, 1943-1946, and went overseas with the Seabees 30th Special Battalion. He taught English and Social Studies for 36 years at Newark and Lakewood Public Schools. He retired from teaching after 17 years at Lakewood. During the 1960’s, he was active in the Civil Rights movement, participating in the March on Washington and the March to Montgomery. In the summer of 1965, through the Delta Ministry, he worked a month in Hattiesburg and McComb, Mississippi. His activities included voter registration, organizing community freedom meetings and teaching in a McComb Freedom School. He was elected to the N.J. Presbyterian Synod Commission on Church and Race and later appointed vice-chairman. A main function of the Commission was to aid ministers under duress because of their support of the Civil Rights Movement. He was twice elected to the Board of Education of South Brunswick. He managed a girls’ recreation softball team for 25 years and began 35 years of coaching a girls’ recreation basketball team which he continued to do when he moved to Berkeley Township. He established a “Black History” library section, donating 100 books and a yearly stipend to his Alma Mata, Westside High School in Newark. In 2004, his gift of 227 Afro-American books and the beginning of a yearly stipend, established an African-American Literature Section at West Side’s Media Center. At the Central Regional High School in Berkeley, through a donation of 80 books and a yearly stipend, he enhanced their remarkable Holocaust Center. He was also selected as a participant in the high school’s TV series, “Senior to Senior”. He is predeceased by his beloved wife Gwen (nee Mattison) in 1992. He is survived by his “deeply loved” Dolores Gumina with whom he traveled to over 49 countries. He is also survived by four sons, Thomas and his wife Marilyn, David and his wife Cathi, Tad, Matthew and his wife Stacy, plus nine wonderful grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Graveside service 10:30am Friday February 16, 2018 at Riverside Cemetery, Toms River. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to House of Hope, 253 Chestnut Street, Toms River, NJ 08753.

Published in Asbury Park Press February 13, 2018


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