Former Metuchen borough attorney remembered as pioneer during Civil Rights era


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METUCHEN – During his time in Metuchen – 16 years as borough attorney – Martin Alan Spritzer defended the right for a moment of silence at government meetings and brought the community together during the Civil Rights era.

With a bit of irony, Mayor Jonathan Busch and the Borough Council held a moment of silence for Spritzer, who died on Dec. 3 at the age of 92, at Galloway Ridge, a retirement home in Fearrington Village, Pittsboro, North Carolina.

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“We lost a very cherished member of Metuchen’s history,” Busch said at a meeting on Dec. 9. “He was a chair or member of 10 various Metuchen commissions or committees.”

Busch said Spritzer was a civic fixture in Metuchen, from being part of the creation of the Metuchen Municipal Pool and defending the borough in legal action brought against the borough for the constitutional right for a moment of silence, to bringing the community together during the Civil Rights movement in Metuchen.

“Some people may not realize, in Metuchen during the 1960s and early 1970s, there were so many things going on, not only in the country, but in the region,” he said. “There were [many] efforts being made with people like Martin Spritzer, people like [former Mayor] Don Wernik, people like Len Roseman [who served many hats in the borough], to try to bring the community together, bring people of all faiths, backgrounds and races together, which resulted in more African American teachers hired by the [Metuchen] Board of Education.”

Busch said it was a time when other communities turned their backs, Metuchen turned it into opportunities.

“We work similarly today and honor his memory in what we do,” he said.

Spritzer is survived by Lola F. Spritzer, his wife of 64 years, his son Evan and his daughter, Dinah, and four grandchildren, Emil, Julius, Romer, and Margot, according to his obituary.

He was born in New Brunswick on June 8, 1927. He graduated Highland Park High School in 1945 and Rutgers University in 1948, where he was Phi Beta Kappa with special honors in history. He graduated Harvard Law School in 1951, his obituary said.

Spritzer settled and raised a family in Metuchen where he was a fixture in political and community life. He practiced law in both Metuchen and neighboring Edison for 42 years, serving as the Metuchen borough attorney for 16 years. He was a member or chair of more than organizations including the Metuchen-Edison Race Relations Counsel and the Middlesex Country Human Relations Commission. He was dedicated to the cause of Civil Rights from the very beginning of his career, his obituary said.

After retiring to Fearrington Village in 1995, Spritzer was a founder of the AARP chapter in Chapel Hill, served on the Chatham Country Human Relations Commission and chaired the Chatham County Appearance Commission. He was very active in Democratic politics, both in New Jersey and North Carolina, Chatham County. He was chair of the Fearrington Village Democratic club for several years. His final service was as chair of the Galloway Ridge Residence Council, his obituary said.

Donations can be made in his name to the ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center as well as to the Judea Reform Congregation where both he and his wife were members.

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