Robert Schmertz

Who was Bob Schmertz?

I'm doing research on Robert Schmertz and was curious if anyone has information to share about him as a person, Leisure Technologies, First State Bank (1964-1976) and any other Schmertz ventures.


Thank you.

Mike Daubner

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ted.dobracki January 13, 2013 at 04:04 PM
I never met Schmertz or knew much about him, except that during college summers, when I was a messenger for the First State Bank of Ocean County in the middle 70's, Schmertz was a director for the bank, along with a lawyer named Giordano, a mayor named Portash, it's president named Bencivenga, and it's Treasurer, a woman named Alma Hitchins, who was also a famed as a local aviatrix. I believe Ms. Hitchins died in the 1970's when a plane she was flying crashed, and I'm sure that the Daily Observer or Asbury Park Press have contemporaneous articles about her exploits including some cross country races. Schmertz maight also have died about the same time, and was also owner of the Boston Celtics for a few years during the nadir of the NBA. I've discovered that Bencivenga died early last year and here is a link to an obituary:http://obits.nj.com/obituaries/starledger/obituary.aspx?pid=155656192#fbLoggedOut. As a messenger at that bank, I recall given the assignment of driving my '65 Dart to Islip, Long Island one Monday to take a ripped sail to a marina or simialr facility to be repaired and picking it up the same Friday in time for his or his son's next weekend boat race. I'll copy another comment I made concerning some other recollections I made a few weeks ago on a Portash article, below:
ted.dobracki January 13, 2013 at 04:05 PM
I knew something was up during the summer of 1975 during one summer as a messenger at the old First Sate Bank. At that time, they had just recently moved into their new state of the art main office on Hooper Avenue (now housing Ocean First), next to the Howard Johnson from an inadequate facility on Rt 37 (a building currently under renovation, a short distance east from White Castle). Before deregulation and the spread of intercounty and interstate banking, FSB was a upstart competitor of FNB of Toms River, and they had about a dozen branches from Ortley to Whiting to Bayville. One day I was given a special assignment - to start organizing their records retention. Initially, for a week or two, I went to collect various boxes of records scattered in the basements of branches all over the county, and then sort and shelf stuff in the sub-basement, disposing expired information and reboxing. There were even handwritten ledgers from when the bank started the decade before. After weeks of that, an very unusual assignment came my way. My boss for that assignment, the personnel manager, told me not to tell anyone (even my regular boss) what I was doing, since it was highly confidential. She had a list of a few dozen checking accounts, and wanted me to pull all of the records for those accounts. (probably as a result of a subpoena). The accounts were all in names of bank directors and their businesses, and Portash was one. I think FSB was gone within a few years.
Michael Daubner January 13, 2013 at 05:18 PM
Mr. Dobracki, Thank you very much for your reply. Would you know of any former FSB officers who are alive and might want to talk about the bank? I will repeat that FSB's new HQ building on Hooper Avenue was a very impressive building for that size bank in Ocean County at that time. Do you remember exactly when FSB moved from its old HQ at 110 Rt. 37 East into 975 Hooper Avenue. Again, thank you for sharing your stories and the obit on the former president. If any other stories come to mind please feel free to share....I'd be most interested. Thanks again, Mike
ted.dobracki January 14, 2013 at 01:00 PM
found this one about Schmertz's sports teams - seems like he was involved in at least three leagues: WHA, WFL, and NBA. There's even a foto near bottom. http://wfl.charlottehornetswfl.com/team_pages_1974/09.php another implies that he was under indictment for bribery when he suddenly died: http://newspaperarchive.com/bennington-banner/1975-07-24/page-15
ted.dobracki January 14, 2013 at 02:30 PM
Mike, Unfortunately because of my low level, temporary summer position, I didn't really know many of the FSB officers personally, though at the time, I probably knew most of them by face since I got around alot as a messenger. I almost certain that the 975 building opened during the spring of 1974. I worked there 73-75, and it wasn't there the first year. In any case, it was already opened when I resumed working there after spring semester, but my department was still in Pine Beach, and didn't move over until later, maybe not until after I left. I'm pretty sure that wasn't my last summer, since I remember that I was surprised by a few other changes when I came back for '75 summer that dictate that 975 was open for '74 summer. I think they kept the 37 branch opened, at least when I was there. There were branches in Bayville (mall where Shop RIte is today), Pine Beach (accross from empty mall), Manchester (near town hall), Whiting, Jackson, Silverton, Ortley Beach, and downtown TR (at NE corner of Main and Washington). Mortgage office was on 37 at end of Washington in where a car dealer is now accross from sporting goods. 975 had two levels of basement. Ted
Michael Daubner January 15, 2013 at 12:48 AM
Ted, Thank you again for the post and articles. Yes, i was in 975 after NJNB acquired FSB. I believe the 3rd floor was unfinished and sitting in the President's office on the 4th Floor. NJNB sold 975 in August of 1977 to First National of Toms River. NJNB renovated the office on Rt. 37 and it became their Ocean County regional HQ. Leo Bellarmino was the Branch Manager at Rt. 37 when I met him in 1977, NJNB kept him on. Also, Bill Beedle (sp?) who I believe started FSB's Trust Department went with NJNB. Yes, 975 was and still is an awesome building and that comes from someone who used to work in large office bldgs in NYC. 975 has a certain character to it. I don't like the OceanFirst renovations. It seemed more open and bigger when First State was in there. I think a Schmertz friend built it for First State? Did you ever stay in banking?
Rich William January 16, 2013 at 10:25 PM
The first homes built in Leisure Villiage Lakewood were ocupied during the summer of 1963. Microfilm of the Lakewood Daily Times had photos and stories on August 1, and on the 15 for that month/year. I think Scmertz also had a hand in the Brookwood developements in Jackson 1960-1964. The same paper had run articles on the local oposition to the project. I think the one grammer school off of New Prospect Road was built by him to help get the project aproved. Again the Daily Times had all the local coverage between the years of 1960 to about 1964 if I remember correctly.
Michael Daubner January 16, 2013 at 11:15 PM
Thank you Sir, for your reply. I'll do some research. Again, thanks very much. I wonder who backed Schmertz? Best regards, Mike
Michael Daubner January 16, 2013 at 11:16 PM
What were some of the other changes you noticed over your Summer break in 1975? Thanks, Mike
Michael Daubner January 24, 2013 at 12:19 AM
Hi Ted, The reason I know a little about 975 is because my father was head of Corporate Real Estate at NJ National Bank at the time they acquired First State. I remember some Saturday morning he had to go to 975 to check on something and took me along and gave me a tour of the building except the basements. I also remember there were tunnels to the booths for the drive in tellers. Quite an HQ for a bank that size. I was 7 at the time this was late 1976. Anyway....that started in time my interest in Schmertz. Best, Mike
John Schaefer May 12, 2013 at 01:32 AM
Bob Schmertz was a home builder of some note especially in NJ. His first development of lost cost housing was called Pine Acres in Lakewood NJ. His next development was in Jackson NJ, the next town west of Lakewood. This devleopment called Brookwood, where I have lived for 51 years, involved some 1800 homes in the Cape Cod, split level, bi level and two story colonial styles. The development really opened up Jackson as a town. Until this it had been a rural, chicken farming community of just a few thousand residents. Schmertz then opened one of the first, if not the first, senior citizen gated community in Lakewood called Leisure Village and then added a few more senior developments before his death.
Jeffrey Kneler November 18, 2013 at 09:53 AM
Bob Schmertz was a neighbor and friend of our family when we both lived in Lakewood NJ. My sister and Bob's daughter (Nancy) were and are to this day best of friends. Bob was a very smart / funny and warm human being who although eventually earned millions of dollars was constantly troubled by the fact that while he cherished all of his children (he had three children) one of the two daughters and one son had severe mental and physical problems. Even with his millions there was nothing he could do to change that except to make them comfortable and I know that the fact that he could not do more made him angry. Bob was a loving and devoted father who was generous and magnanimous in his charitable contributions to a wide variety of charities and never turned anyone in need away. While his marriage to June ended he always made sure that she and the rest of his family along with the live in family of personal employees were always first on his list of responsibilities. For himself, he loved cars and planes and they were his personal passion.. He showed up one day at our house in a new JENSEN to pick Nancy up and he took me for the ride of my life around a curvy lakeside road that is still vivid in my memory. The Schmertz house was a muliti level and muti million dollar home pierced off the elevated 12th green of Lakewood country club and in the snowy days of winter the Schmertz family invited all the friend of his kids to come over and sled down the country club slope that bordered his home which eventually became known as "BOB'S HILL 12" who would also provide hot cocoa and food for the any kid who showed up. Bob was a very fun guy and when you were around him you realized that you were in the presence of a very special individual who lived life to the fullest and I will always remember him with love in my heart. I hope these comments provide another side of the man that you didn't know.


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