FREEHOLD, NJ – “Today, we celebrated the life of former Monmouth County Freeholder Theodore J. “Ted” Narozanick. Ted was Mr. Monmouth County. He was a legend, a role model, and a mentor to all who followed in the footsteps he left behind while paving the way for the renaissance of our beautiful county.
Many of us were lucky enough to call Ted ‘friend.’ Yet even those who just happened upon him on a street corner, in a restaurant, or at the County Fair would tell you that he treated everyone he met as though he had known them for 50 years. In fact, before there was a Pelé, or a Madonna, or a JLo – there was Ted. No last name needed.
After serving with distinction during World War II, Ted was awarded the Bronze Star. He returned home to his native Englishtown where he started a small hardware store business that provided supplies to local farmers. Ted noted that this endeavor piqued his interest in working with the community and for nearly the next half century he committed himself to serving his fellow residents.
Whether as councilman or mayor or Board of Education member in Englishtown, Ted always found a way to get things done. He stepped into County government as Budget Director in the late 1950’s and went on to become our first County Administrator in 1974 – a role he held for a decade before being elected overwhelmingly to his first of six terms as Freeholder in 1985. To this day, he remains the only freeholder to ever carry the “Freeholder Emeritus” designation.
Ted never tired of the campaign trail. Some remarked he would campaign in a telephone booth if he had to. Ted was also quite proud to be the king of the supermarket ‘hand shake’ stop. He just loved it.
Ted brought that passion to the office as well. Throughout his tenure as freeholder, Ted served as liaison to Human Services, Transportation and to Veterans Affairs. In 2001, the State of New Jersey designated Route 33 between Manalapan and Howell as the Theodore J. Narozanick Highway – a testament to Ted’s dogged pursuit of improving the county’s infrastructure.
Prior to his retirement in 2006, Ted gave an oral history to the Monmouth County Library System as one of 100 Monmouth County citizens asked to contribute to their “Remembering the 20th Century: An Oral History of Monmouth County” project.
In this lengthy interview, Ted remarked about accomplishments the Board of Chosen Freeholders had made including the library system, the park system, and Brookdale Community College. He was also asked what he liked best about politics and government and his answer perhaps best summarizes the remarkable life of this truly gifted and special man.
‘I think meeting the people and seeing what I can help them with, regardless of their problem. I have no line of demarcation, so to speak, whether they are a Republican, Democrat, Conservative, Independent, or Liberal. It makes no difference to me. If they are county residents and I can help them, that’s my responsibility and my job. And that’s what I try to do. Basically my career has been based on a love of County Government, the knowledge of it to know what we can and cannot do, and how we can be helpful to all the people.’
God Bless, Ted Narozanick.”