Sunshine Notes

Carol G. Ruhl

Carol G. Ruhl (nee Gaun) from Woodstown, N.J. age 77, beloved wife, mother, and grandmother, passed away on Sunday, September 10, 2017.  Carol and her husband, G. Howard Ruhl, Jr. (married for 57 years) have been members of the New Jersey Lighthouse Society for many years.


Carol enjoyed being with her family and friends, especially celebrating special occasions and relaxing on Stone Harbor Beach. One of Carol's favorite past times, was collecting and visiting lighthouses all up and down the coast from Texas to Maine. She only missed a couple of lighthouses in her adventures. Her favorite lighthouse is Sandy Hook at Highlands/Sandy Hook, NJ.


Funeral services will be held at 11 AM on Friday, September 15th in the H.T. Layton Funeral Home, 102 S. Main St., Woodstown, NJ, where friends are invited to visit from 9 AM until the time of service. Burial will follow the funeral service in Lawnside Cemetery in Pilesgrove. Memorial contributions may be made in her name to the Sandy Hook Foundation, 84 Mercer Rd., Highland, NJ 07732.

Frank L. Trafford!/Obituary.  A Celebration of Frank’s life will be held on Thursday February 16, 2017 from 11-1PM at John E. Day Funeral Home 85 Riverside Avenue Red Bank, NJ 07701 with a Memorial Service at 1PM at the funeral home.

Joan and Frank have been NJLHS members since 2009.  

Obituary for Frank L. Trafford

RED BANK, NJ 07701


Frank L. Trafford, 86, passed away at Bayshore Community Hospital on January 2, 2017.
He was born to the late S. Harmer and Judith (Hansen) Trafford in Long Branch and lived for many years in Rumson before moving to Tinton Falls.

Frank worked as a professional land surveyor for Schoor DePalma in Manalapan for 28 years before retiring and through this was a member of the Garden State Land Surveyors Alliance. He also honorably served our country in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War.

He was a charter member of the Rumson Pop Warner Football Club in 1960 and remained a coach for 13 years. Frank was also was a charter member of the Year Round Sportsman Club and enjoyed golfing, hunting and fishing.

Frank is predeceased by his son, John Michael Buhl; his sisters: Ann Marie Kradell and Carol Carter and his former wife, Linda Trafford.
He is survived by his wife, Joan (Rohde) Trafford; his son and daughter in law: Joseph and Donna Buhl; his daughter in law, Alexis Buhl and 4 grandchildren: Michael, Ryan, Justine and Victoria.

A Celebration of Frank’s life will be held on Thursday February 16, 2017 from 11-1PM at John E. Day Funeral Home 85 Riverside Avenue Red Bank, NJ 07701 with a Memorial Service at 1PM at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations can be made in Frank’s memory to:
The Alzheimer’s Association 400 Morris Avenue Suite 51 Denville, NJ 07834.
Visit Frank’s memorial website at

Laura Portee passed away on Sunday November 27th.

The obituary is under: Higgins Home for Funerals in Watchung NJ

She was co-chair of the Challenge and Her organizational and statistics skills helped make the Challenge the great success that it is.

Her family's address: Michael Portee, 240 Willow Avenue Ext. , North Plainfield NJ 07063

She was Corresponding Secretary of NJLHS at one time.

Tribute to Laura

From Doreen Berson – December 2, 2016

As many of you know, Laura Portee passed away on November 27th. She leaves behind her husband Michael and daughters Willow and Ivy. She will always be remembered by me as a good friend and a wonderful co-worker when we volunteered together at the New Jersey Lighthouse Challenge.

Laura and I worked on the Challenge together for many years. When I was coordinator at Barnegat Lighthouse she and Michael volunteered there, and then when I became Regional Coordinator I asked her to Co-ordinate at Barnegat. She readily volunteered. Anyone who visited Barnegat Lighthouse or volunteered there during the Challenge will remember her diorama and how she had everything organized on the table. She was a joy to work with!

At one point we began preparing for the Challenge together – her organizational skills were invaluable as we expanded the Challenge each year. We strived to make the Challenge better and better and to make it the event that the Society had hoped it would be – an event that financially assisted the lighthouses of New Jersey and educated the public on these beautiful sentinels in our State.

I eventually became Chairman of the Challenge and relied on Laura for her organizational and statistical skills. She became so involved that I asked her to Co-Chair the Event with me. As a result, the Challenge grew and because of her attention to detail and suggestions for gathering statistics, we received grants from the New Jersey Department of Tourism. This money helped the Challenge grow because we were able to publicize the event and offer better souvenirs each year. Even now, the Challenge does not see the numbers of participants that it did during the years when we were Co-Chairing.

Laura and I were acknowledged for our efforts with the Challenge by receiving awards from the Friends of Hereford Inlet Lighthouse, Ocean County Board of Trustees and New Jersey Lighthouse Society. We appreciated these acknowledgements and I was honored to receive the awards with her. She also became more involved in the New Jersey Lighthouse Society by taking on the responsibilities of Corresponding Secretary. Between these duties and her family obligations, she was a busy lady!

2009 was the 10th Anniversary of the Challenge and the year Laura and I made the difficult decision to stop volunteering. It had gotten to a point that we were on the phone with each other EVERY DAY in the months prior to the event. We both held full-time jobs, so this involvement became more and more difficult. Also, we needed to spend more time with our families – Laura had Michael and Willow, at the time, and I had Steve.

We kept in touch, seeing each other at NJLHS meetings and attending each other’s family gatherings. Laura was busy raising Willow at the time. Then she and Michael adopted Ivy. I remember the “email journey” she included us in, as she and her family traveled to China to adopt her. She was such a dedicated and loving mother!

As time went on, we lost touch. But every third weekend in October, I would remember the good times we had, as I do now, and the laughs and tears we shared together. I lost a good friend and wish I had kept in touch more than I did.

Good-bye, Laura, and Thank You for all the good times we shared. God Bless You!

J. Randolph Walton, 67, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 at Ocean Medical Center.  Randy is survived by his two brothers; William Walton of Rumson, NJ and Clifford Walton, PhD. of Pittsburg, PA.

Visitation will be held at the John E. Day Funeral Home, 85 Riverside Avenue, Red Bank, NJ 07701 on Saturday, December 3, 2016 from 11 to 2 PM with a service beginning at 1:30 PM.  Randy will be privately cremated.  In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be sent in Randy’s memory to American Cancer Society, 2310 Route 34, # 1D, Manasquan, NJ 08736. Please visit Randy’s memorial website available at 732-747-0332

Mary Catherine Kennedy

She passed away on December 12, 2016


In Memory of Mary Catherine Kennedy:

Many of my most treasured memories from NJLHS include Mary Catherine Kennedy.  Not only was she such a source of knowledge, history, and lore regarding New Jersey lighthouses and nautical-related history, but she exhibited such a love of life and passion around engaging and educating young people and instilling in them an appreciation of these treasures.  Mary Catherine exhibited boundless energy, unbridled enthusiasm, endless creativity, and an independent spirit that proved inspirational to me.  She was a unique an special person--truly a "once in a generation" person whose life was marked by so many achievements--including earning a degree from an Ivy League institution at a time when many women didn't graduate from high school!--while overcoming adversity.  Her life was distinguished by relishing every moment and living it to its fullest. 


Mary Catherine not only made such an impact on NJLHS, but on Barnegat Township, the Barnegat Historical Society, and the larger Ocean County and New Jersey community--especially Tuckerton Seaport. She was all about making an impact, and that she did.


We'll miss you Mary Catherine, but we know you're as busy as ever & that you're certainly not taking a break in heaven!


Anthony Albence

Former NJLHS 2nd VP / Chair of Community Outreach

© 2016 NJLHS