HCHS Mourns Passing of Richard Stothoff

By Janice Armstrong, President, Hunterdon County Historical Society

Richard Stothoff

Hunterdon County lost a wonderful keeper of local history with the passing of Richard Stothoff on Friday, March 15. I was lucky to know this kind man and learn so much from him. Dick loved to share stories of Hunterdon County and particularly the Flemington/Raritan area. When I told him I was interested in house moving in Flemington he gave me a newspaper article that told the story, and he took me on walk through town to point out the buildings that had been moved.

He often arrived at the Hunterdon County Historical Society with some historic treasure someone had passed on to him. Dick was often called in the final hours of the demolition of a local historic site to rescue things headed to the dump including glass cutting machines from Flemington Cut Glass and one of the last cast iron light poles in Flemington.

On a beautiful day last year, Dick and I walked through town and visited the Deats Building from top to bottom. He told me stories of his childhood and pointed out little know landmarks including one of the last hand-dug wells in town, memorial trees planted in the park behind the Courthouse and the hidden stone step with the name of a lost Main Street hotel.

Dick joined the historical society in the winter of 1965, and became a trustee two years later. He served as vice president, and became president of our board of trustees in 1995 upon the passing of Kenneth Myers. Dick would serve as president until 2013, but stayed on our board sharing his wisdom until his passing.

But of course his time with our organization only tells part of the story of his lifetime of service in making Hunterdon County a better place. Born in Ringoes on July 23, 1934, he was the son of the late George B. and Grace (George) Stothoff Case. Dick was an Eagle Scout, who graduated from Flemington High School in 1952 and later, Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, where he received his Master’s Degree in Engineering. He spent five years in the Air Force. He served on an Epidemiology Team in Georgia and Turkey and an environmental health lab in San Antoinio.

When he returned to Flemington around 1960, he began working in the family well-drilling business. He joined HCHS (as mentioned above), the Raritan Township Historians and the Mount Amwell Society. He became a member and director of the South Branch Watershed Association. He also served on the Flemington Borough Council, Planning Board and Shade Tree Commission, and sat on the board of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, just to name a few. An active Rotarian, Dick was both a past president and Rotarian of the Year for the Flemington Club. In 2000, Hunterdon YMCA named Dick and his brother, Samuel “Hunterdon Men of the Year.” He also used to organize the annual Flemington Christmas Tree Lighting and was very active in the Three Bridges Reformed Church.

Dick was predeceased by his brother, Samuel Stothoff II; his sister-in-law, Elaine Boelhouwer; and his niece, Dawn Warner.

Surviving are his wife, Priscilla (Boelhouwer) Stothoff; his children, Stuart Alan Stothoff and his wife Maria, Scott Richard Morgan and his wife Kathy, Michele “Shelley” Ann Lyman and her husband David; his grandchildren, Michael Scott Morgan, Benjamin David Lyman, Alyssa Michele Lyman, Christopher James Morgan, Kurstin Ann Lyman Chandler, Katherine Grace Stothoff, and Jack Alan Stothoff; two great-grandchildren, Avery Anne Lyman and Parker Ruth Lyman; his step-sister, Jane Steeley and her husband Phillip; a brother-in-law, David Peter Boelhouwer and his children Pam and Peter; his sister-in-law, Verna Stothoff; and niece Sandra Koehler.

There will be a public funeral service on Thursday, March 21 at 2 p.m. at the Three Bridges Reformed Church on Main St. in Three Bridges. Interment will be private.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Three Bridges Reformed Church, PO Box 235, Three Bridges, NJ 08887 or the Hunterdon County Historical Society, 114 Main Street, Flemington, NJ 08822.

As keepers of history, it is our job to continue to share those stories and treasures that Dick so happily shared with us. We feel this is one of the best ways that we can honor his memory and all he has done for our organization.

Please Note: Our library will be closed on Thursday, March 21 for the service.