SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — On March 31, South Orange Village President Sheena Collum stopped by the Glenside Road home of Barbara Van Doren to present the longtime resident with flowers and a proclamation from the town. Van Doren has been a member of the South Orange community for 96 years and is now going to begin the next chapter of her life in Virginia. The proclamation honors Van Doren as a lifelong villager and wishes her the best in her future endeavors.
Barbara Van Doren, nee Milbank, was born March 28, 1925; she was the first in her family to be born in a hospital, which was located in the building that now houses the Ethical Culture Society of Essex County in Maplewood. Van Doren grew up on Hillside Place and attended Montrose School. As a child, she enjoyed many village activities — all activities that she shared with her children in later years. She also loved field hockey, visiting the South Mountain Reservation, reading in the South Orange Public Library, hanging out with friends and, of course, her dog, Digby.
In 1948, she married lifelong resident Lawrence Norton Van Doren. In 1953, the couple moved into their own home on Glenside Road, where Barbara Van Doren still resides today. There, the couple raised three children, who gave them 10 grandchildren; Barbara Van Doren is a great-grandmother now to four great-grandchildren.
In her time in South Orange, Van Doren has shared her knowledge and compassion as a valuable community member and has volunteered with many organizations, including the Orange Orphan Society, the Episcopal Church of Saint Andrew & Holy Communion and the Garden Club of the Oranges.
Photos Courtesy of Sheena Collum