A Moment Of Silence For Passing Of Two Local Leaders

Ocean County Administration Building (Photo by Chris Lundy)

OCEAN COUNTY – We don’t have kings here, but the wisdom still stands: those who are skilled at their work will stand before kings, not obscure men. Two such men were remembered, whose work blessed the communities they served in.

The Ocean County Freeholders offered a moment of silence for these two men, Richard Work and Larry St. Laurent, at their regular Feb. 7 meeting.

Ernest “Larry” St. Laurent, 86, died Jan. 29 in Jackson. He was director of Ocean County Veterans Affairs.

Dick Work, 79, died Feb. 3 in Toms River. He was former mayor and board of education member, as well as involved with county Republican committees.

Both were remembered fondly by the Freeholders.

  Larry St. Laurent

Larry St. Laurent (Photo courtesy Ocean County)

St. Laurent was a postman in Jackson for many years. But it’s his work with and for veterans that makes him stand out.

He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, ranking Sgt. First Class. He earned the Occupation Medal for his time in Japan, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Korean Service Medal with five Bronze Service Stars, a Republic of Korea Presidential Unit, and a Purple Heart.

He was involved with state and national Military Order of the Purple Heart and the Korean War Memorial, as well as many organizations in Jackson: the Jackson VFW, Jackson AMVets, the Knights of Columbus, Jackson school district ROTC, the American Legion, and the Jackson High School Hall of Fame.

St. Laurent worked with the county from 1989 to 2003.

“I’ve probably known Larry St. Laurent since I was probably 17 years old,” Freeholder Virginia Haines said. He lived three doors down from a high school friends of hers. “I know the dedication he that he did with the veterans organizations, because he was a very dedicated veteran, very proud of being a veteran who served in our military to protect Americans. I just feel very privileged to have known Larry St. Laurent. He was a true American.”

Micromedia Publications reached out to Jackson mayor Michael Reina, who also knew St. Laurent.

“I am very saddened about Larry’s passing, he was a kind and generous soul and one that anyone would want to be around. Larry’s laugh was infectious and as genuine as they come. The many stories and conversations that I had with him gave me a true feeling of who he really was and it was an honor to be with him. He was a proud man, a Korean War veteran whose eyes spoke volumes but his heart was always soft. Always giving and always looking to help wherever he could. I will miss him, our talks, his smile and laughter, the world is a lesser place without him,” Reina said.

  Richard Work

Richard Work (Photo courtesy Ocean County)

Work was employed by JCP&L for 48 years. He was a Republican fixture in the county and a lifelong resident of Lakewood, where he served as mayor, board of education member and volunteer fireman with Lakewood Fire Co. No. 1. He served the county in multiple ways, including on its Board of Health.

“We all worked with Dick in one capacity or another,” Freeholder director Gerry Little said. “…We worked as part of a county family.”

“He was another dedicated, hard-working person for the people of Ocean County,” Haines, who knew Work since she was a child, said.

Both John Bartlett and Joseph Vicari said Work was passionate about serving the residents of Ocean County, and was a true gentleman.

Lakewood Township Committeeman Michael D’Elia served alongside Work on the township committee and said he was the same in private as his public face. Work loved Lakewood. Period.

“He was very active in everything, he was always around, he always had a smile,” D’elia said. “He was very active in the county, very active in Lakewood.”

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Ocean County native Jennifer Peacock is a community journalist and photographer. She’s written for weekly and daily newspapers in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia for more than 20 years. Readers can contact her at jpeacock@jerseyshoreonline.com.