The Kinnelon Historical Preservation Committee and the Friends of the Kinnelon Museum wish to recognize and honor the life of Lucy Meyer and her more than 38 years of volunteer work to the Borough of Kinnelon.
Lucy Meyer was born in Perth Amboy New Jersey in November 1930 to a WWI veteran Louis Milano and his bride Rose Milano. When she was only six her father became ill due to complications from exposure to nerve gases during the War. The whole family moved Italy so he could receive a special kidney operation that was only available at that time in Italy. Her family stayed in Italy until the U.S. Consulate urged them to return to the States due to the raise in power of Mussolini and concern by the US Consulate for their safety.
They eventually settled in Corona Queens, New York where she attended school. Due to her interest and exceptional abilities in math and science she was allowed into a “boys only” math class where she excelled and graduated with Honors. This was despite the fact that her father was suffering from cancer at the time. Before he died he made Lucy and her two brothers promise they would obtain a college education. They all fulfilled this promise to their father. Lucy attended Queens College and majored in Math and Physics. When Lucy was just a junior she was recruited by Sperry Gyroscope to work for them even before she graduated. While working for Sperry she continued school. Lucy eventually became the first female engineer at Sperry in the early 1950’s.
While working for Sperry she met a handsome pilot and engineer named Karl Meyer to whom she married in 1952. When She became pregnant with her first child, Lucy had to quit work so Karl decided to quit as well and thy took a road trip and camped across the United States. Upon their return before David’s birth they settled in a house Karl bought after the war in his home town of Matamoras, Pennsylvania. Julie came along less than a year later. In 1956 they moved to Kinnelon to be closer to Karl’s new job at Aircraft Radio Corporation; a division of Cessna Aircraft Corporation in Boonton, New Jersey. Living in Kinnelon they had two more children Nanette and Jeanette, it was here they stayed and raised their four children. Lucy and Karl’s first volunteer experience began with helping out with the local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops.
In 1970 as a newly enacted Kinnelon Borough Environmental Commission was formed Lucy took responsibility for creating the Kinnelon Natural Resource Inventory, which was published in 1974. At the time no State guidelines existed in conducting such an inventory making Lucy the first to pave the way. It included historic houses and a comprehensive ground water study along with numerous maps. The book was presented to the Library of Congress and written up in their bulletin. It was also used as a study guide by Rutgers University. In 1972 Lucy saved the largest Butternut Tree in the State of New Jersey located in Kinnelon, when someone threatened to cut it down during the building of the Kinnelon Mall. She was successful and its image is forever emblemized on the town seal. As the 1976 Bicentennial of our country approached, and a prerequisite to becoming a Bicentennial Town was to have a written history book, Lucy was recruited to do this task. The book Kinnelon: A History, Where the Future is Enriched by the Past, was followed by an appointment of a Kinnelon Historical Commission and eventually a museum of our own. At that time Lucy and Karl were also very active with the North Jersey Highlands Historical Society as volunteers for Ringwood Manor State Park and also served on the Ringwood Manor Advisory Committee. Lucy was asked by the Park Commission to organize a historical library there. Funds to establish the library were needed, and a series of lectures were put together by Lucy pertaining to use of plants by Native Americans, early settlers, botanists and doctors was very popular. Lucy and Karl also worked as volunteers, for an archeological team during the building of the Monksville Dam in the area. After successfully surviving breast cancer in the early 1980’s, Lucy as a member of both The Kinnelon Historical Commission and Environmental Commission founded and chaired the Committee to Preserve the Pyramid Mountain Natural and Historical Area, just as the building boom was about to start. She first did a comprehensive ‘Resource Inventory’ of this large pristine area of native plants, forests and wetlands containing spectacular remnants of the Ice Age and a Native American site, listed in the Anthropological papers of the American Museum of Natural History. She then initiated preservation efforts. She enlisted the aid of State, County and a number of municipalities and the many friends she had made both as an Environmentalist and Historian. The Committee won the Take Pride in America Award in 1987 given to them by President Reagan along with many others. Lucy served as the Kinnelon Historian up to the time of husband Karl’s death in late 2010. Other volunteer positions held by Lucy Meyer have included: Kinnelon Borough Cross Acceptance Representative to the State Plan, N.J.D.E.P.’s Wetland Citizens Advisory Council, Morris County Park Commission’s Pyramid Mountain Coordinating Committee, Appointment to the Highland Council’s Technical Advisory Committee and Kinnelon Open Space Committee.
Lucy is survived by her three daughters, Jeanette Meyer-DeVincenzo and her husband Anthony of Butler, Juliet Luke and her husband Michael of Butler, and Nanette Meyer of Lawrenceville, sister of Louis Milano of Monmouth and Joseph Milano of Franklin Lakes. Grandmother of Shannon Luke and wife Zoe, and Louis Krayer. Predeceased by her son David and husband Karl.