Dave Segal, former mayor in Freehold Township, passes away in Florida

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FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – Dave Segal, who served on the Township Committee in Freehold Township for more than two decades, has died.

Freehold Township officials announced Segal’s passing in a post on Facebook.

According to an obituary provided by the Clayton and McGirr Funeral Home, Freehold Township, Segal, who was born in 1937, died on Oct. 30 in Port St. Lucie, Fla. He was a graduate of Erasmus Hall High School, Brooklyn, N.Y., and was a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.

After settling in Freehold Township, Segal served on the Township Committee from 1977 through 2000. He served as mayor in 1979, 1984, 1988, 1996 and 2000, and as deputy mayor in 1982, 1983, 1991 and 1994.

Segal left the Township Committee at the end of 2000 and he and his wife, Celia, retired to Florida.

David Salkin, a former member of the Township Committee who joined the governing body in 1994 and served with Segal until Segal left office at the end of 2000, remembered his former colleague this week and said, “When I started on the Township Committee, I was 28 and the other committee members were about the same age as my parents. They often called me ‘the kid.’

“Be that as it may, Dave always treated me as an equal. He named us DS1 and DS2, and he decided he was going to be my mentor, whether I wanted one or not.

“Unlike me, who loved government, but hated politics, Dave loved the political game – and he was good at it. He certainly could have gone further if that’s what he wanted to do.

“Dave was dedicated, genuine, always prepared, and even when we had huge arguments over individual issues, it was always with great respect. We would argue, and then it was over, and we were friends again.

“Dave was a crusty old Marine, and liked to appear as one, but those of us who were lucky enough to know him, knew that deep down, he was just a big mush who would give you the shirt off his back. Freehold Township is better because of his contributions and will forever be thankful for his service,” Salkin said.

In an article published in the News Transcript on Dec. 20, 2000, when he concluded his public service in the community, Segal said he was one member of a Township Committee made up of people who also had made a “total commitment to the town.”

“I was lucky enough over the years to be able to continue working with a group of committee members whose dedication always matched mine and at times surpassed it. I’ve been fortunate,” Segal said.

Segal said he took pride in the fact that Freehold Township was successful in attracting clean commercial ratables and that one-third of the municipal tax base was paid by commercial property owners.

“You only see a rate like that in cities,” he said. “In municipalities, the normal rate paid by residents is 80% to 95% of the tax base. In Freehold Township that number is 65% to 66%.”

Segal said he would miss residents who would approach him and introduce themselves.

“They either knew who I was or wanted to remind me we had met on one or another occasion — maybe it was that I married them 20 years ago or officiated at some function they attended. It was always great to be available to help people and to be available to people who were able to let you know you had made a difference — I’ll miss that,” he said.

In addition to his service on the Township Committee, Segal served for 26 years on the Freehold Township Board of Health and for 20 years on the Planning Board.

He was also involved in county government having served on the Monmouth County Planning Board, as emergency management coordinator, and as a commissioner and former chairman of the Manasquan River Regional Sewage Authority.

Freehold Township is one of the five municipalities that comprise the MRRSA.

In 1999, Segal was inducted into the New Jersey League of Municipalities Elected Officials Hall of Fame in recognition of the 20-plus years he served as an elected official.

Segal is survived by his wife of 52 years, Celia; sons, Jeff Segal and his wife, Dennise, and Richard Segal and his wife; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held in the spring of 2021. Remembrances in memory of
Segal may be made to Nassau-Suffolk Chapter – Autism Society of America, www.firstgiving.com/NSASA for his grandson Jarred.