Planet Princeton

Raymond Wadsworth, Spirit of Princeton founder, dies at 80

Ray Wadsworth

Raymond Wadsworth, a former fire chief, Princeton Borough councilman and founder of the Spirit of Princeton organization, died Thursday, May 31 at Capital Health System at Hopewell. He was 80.

Born in Johnstown, Pa. he was a resident of Princeton for 60 years. He also owned a shore home in South Seaside Park, where he enjoyed spending time with his family and friends.

Wadsworth was the owner of the Flower Market and Wadsworth Gourmet Bakery in Princeton. He served for 55 years as a member of Mercer Engine Company #3 and was the chaplain for the fire company. He purchased a fire truck for a dollar and shipped it to Nicaragua to help save lives there.

A member of St. Paul’s Church, he served as head usher and eucharistic minister, was a member of the pastoral council and St. Vincent DePaul Society, and was a member of the Princeton Knights of Columbus Council #636. He also started the Blue Mass at St. Paul’s, and was a member and a chaplain of the Red Knights.

Ray Wadsworth adjusts the American flag on the World Trade Center beam during a ceremony at town hall in 2012. Photo: David Cardaciotto.

He served on the Princeton Borough Council and started the Princeton High School Post Prom. He also started a Princeton flag burning ceremony to dispose of old flags. He coached Little League Football and was a Boy Scout Leader for Troop #88. He founded the Spirit of Princeton, a non-partisan group, to promote civic pride and bring the community together for events, including the annual Princeton Memorial Day parade.

Wadsworth is survived by his wife of 60 years, Jacqueline (Nebus) Wadsworth; one son and daughter-in-law, R. Keith and Elizabeth Wadsworth; a daughter, Kathleen Wadsworth; and three grandchildren Keith, Jesse, and Andrew Wadsworth.

The funeral will be held at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, June 6,  at the Mather-Hodge Funeral Home at 40 Vandeventer Avenue in Princeton. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Paul’s Church, 214 Nassau St., Princeton. Burial will follow in Princeton Cemetery.

Calling hours will be held from 2:00 to 4:00 and 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5,  at the funeral home. A Fireman’s Service will be held at 8 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Paul’s Church (for the prayer garden), 214 Nassau St., Princeton, NJ 08542.

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Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

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