Art Gartenlaub — native Maplewoodian, South Orange-Maplewood School District graduate, VFW commander, musician, community volunteer and former candidate for Township Committee — passed away on July 8 after valiantly battling congestive heart failure and other illnesses the last few years of his life.
Art’s official obituary has not been posted yet. But we wanted to inform the community of his passing as we watch for information about services. As you will see from Art’s old TC candidate statement below, we’ve barely touched on the many roles he played in Maplewood and the many contributions he made.
I met Art and his wife Willie at the annual Veterans Day observance at Maplewood Town Hall in 2010. Willie sang (beautifully) and Art accompanied her (also beautifully) on piano. Art was filling another role at the event as well — that of veteran and commander of VFW Post 10120. Willie was the feisty, outspoken one and Art was adoring and sweet (my impression). I looked forward to seeing them at the remembrance for several years following.
In recent years, the Gartenlaubs moved to Brick, but maintained their deep Maplewood ties. Via Facebook, Willie kept everyone apprised of Art’s health challenges and progress. In late 2016/early 2017, Art was desperately ill and lost the lower portion of his right leg to MRSA — but recovered. His wry humor came through in one Facebook post where he used his prosthetic limb as a stand for a lampshade.
When Art was very ill 20 months ago, I messaged Willie about doing a story on him. I regret not doing one then. I hope to post and write more about Art shortly. He deserves it.
Here is Art’s candidate statement from June 2012, when he ran for Maplewood Township Committee:
As a fiscal conservative, I recognize that the Township Committee is under enormous pressure to meet community needs in addition to meeting the communities’ increased financial burdens; however, although I agree with close to 90% of the township committee’s decisions, it is the other 10% of decisions that might benefit the township’s taxpayers from another and possibly creative viewpoint. The benefit would not come from a political perspective (as I’ve been quoted as having said, in the past, “there is no Republican or Democratic way to fill a pothole”), but from the standpoint of a born and raised, locally active, community caring Maplewoodian.
As a lifelong resident of Maplewood, having attended and graduated from Clinton School, South Orange Junior High School and Columbia High School, I have always been proud to be a native Maplewoodian. After attending American University and serving in the US Army in a variety of assignments, I have been fortunate enough to have gained career experiences ranging from teaching at Seton Hall University to a variety of entry level, Managerial and Executive positions in both Large and Small Business organizations.
I am married, with four children along with my wife who is also a native of the Maplewood/South Orange community. Each member of the family has gone through the Maplewood South Orange School System. Throughout my years as a resident of Maplewood, I have remained active in community affairs having served on the Board of Directors of the Jersey Animal Coalition, a three time president of the Maplewood Glee Club, a volunteer for a variety of 4th of July committees, a former musical director for several Strollers’ productions, a four time Commander of the Maplewood Memorial Post 10120 Veterans of Foreign Wars, a member of the American Legion, a member of the Maplewood/South Orange Elks, a former member of The Maplewood Rotary, a Member of the recently organized Service Organization Maplewood Project and most currently, responsible for the organization of Maplewood’s 2012 Annual Memorial Day Parade and Memorial Ceremony.
In addition, my wife Margaret “Willie” Gartenlaub is a licensed Real Estate Agent and she and I have been an established Musical Duo for many years, often known as Amazing Art & Wonderful Willie.
June 24, 1943 – July 8, 2018