Harriet (Oldinsky) Hems, 83


Harriet (Oldinsky) Hems passed away Sunday, October 27, 2019, at St. Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick. She was 83.

Born in Jersey City to the late Peter P. and Harriet (Majewski) Oldinsky, she resided in North Brunswick for the past 59 years. Harriet was salutatorian at Ferris High School in Jersey City, where she was the only person on the debate team. She was awarded a full scholarship to Douglass College. She received a B.A. degree in Sociology in 1958 and taught elementary school in Piscataway and Franklin Townships.

After teaching, Harriet became an activist in the community where she was known for her accomplishments, enthusiasm and integrity. She served as a North Brunswick Committeeperson, Township Councilperson and Police Commissioner. She proudly still carried her badge.

In early 1980 she and her husband discovered the Military Order of the Purple Heart. They worked to build the New Jersey chapter of the Order and Harriet served as the National President of the Ladies Auxiliary of the organization.

Harriet was a communicant of Our Lady of Peace R.C. Church in North Brunswick. She was a member of the County Commission for People with Disabilities and worked with the Olympics for Disabled Children for many years.

In addition to her parents she was predeceased by her oldest child Bernice Joan Hems. Surviving are her husband of 62 years Joseph R. Hems; two daughters – Harriet Hems Wright and her husband James H. Wright of North Brunswick and Christine Diem and her husband Jeffrey Diem of Kingwood; her son Peter Hems of Asbury Park; her beloved sister Bette Jane VanDeventer and her husband William of Atlantic Highlands; four grandchildren – Harrison James Wright, Joseph Hems Wright, Ashley Elizabeth Diem and Christopher James Diem; her niece Kristen VanDeventer, her husband Ali Bailey and their son Jules Bailey; and nephew Jason VanDeventer.

Visitation will be 2:00 to 4:00 PM and 7:00 to 9:00 PM Friday at Selover Funeral Home, 555 Georges Road, North Brunswick. Funeral services will be 8:45 AM Saturday from Selover Funeral Home followed by a 9:30 AM Mass at Our Lady of Peace Church in North Brunswick. Burial at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia will take place at a later date.