The small, suburban Camden County borough of Collingswood, that once produced a Republican governor, is now a bright blue municipality and has changed over the last decade, resembling a town more akin to Montclair or Lambertville than to other Camden County suburbs. One certainty is that it’s a Democratic stronghold that no longer resembles the small town that launched William T. Cahill’s political career 60 years ago. The Philadelphia-born son of Irish immigrants, Cahill moved to Collingswood around 1939, won a State Assembly seat in 1951 and in 1958, when 78-year-old Rep. Charles Wolverton (R-Merchantville) retired after 31 years in Congress, ran for the Camden-Gloucester-Salem seat and won by 1,859 votes. He was re-elected in 1968 with 66% of the vote then, decided to run for governor in 1969. Collingswood gave favorite-son Cahill a massive 79% of the vote in his successful election as 38th governor of NJ.
Father Alfred J. Hewett, a priest of the Diocese of Camden for more than 60 years, died April 18 at the age of 95. Father Hewett graduated from Collingswood High School, served in the U.S. Navy Air Corps and the U.S. Army Air Corps then, attended Saint Joseph’s University. His first assignment was in Merchantville, as parochial vicar at Saint Peter Parish from 1956-63. Due to current restrictions, interment at Calvary Cemetery in Cherry Hill will be held privately for his family. A memorial Mass will be held when the current restrictions are lifted. Donations may be made to Madonna House or Catholic Relief Services.