Monthly Archives: December 2022

Sean Glisson — Member Profile

Sean Glisson was born with a heart of gold and an unflinching passion for history. He packed so much into his 51 years. He traveled, chased his dreams, fell in love, became a father, mentored youth, consumed history books, cherished the Phillies, and worked in a profession he loved.

Born in Maple Shade, NJ, Sean graduated from Holy Cross High School in 1989. He went on to graduate with Honors from Rutgers University with a double major in history and finance (and proudly without debt), and was Vice President of Underwriting for Republic Bank.

As a devoted husband of 26 years to Nadine (Scurria) Glisson, and dad to their three sons Evan, Alexander, and Gabriel, Sean loved vacations, the beach, and grilling for his family in the backyard. He was a fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Villanova, and Notre Dame football, and had a fabulous sense of humor that caused uproarious laughter in those around him. Sean was like a second son to his in-laws, Tom Scurria (Old Baldy member) and his wife Valerie.

With relentless energy and enthusiasm, Sean pursued a greater understanding of history by reading books on the American Civil War, the Revolutionary War, WWII, the French & Indian War. His personal library was extensive.

Concerning the Civil War, Sean was a reenactor for over 25 years and introduced his sons, Alexander and Gabriel, to the hobby and tradition. Sean was interested in all aspects of the war – military, political and economic, and was inclined toward military campaigns. He had visited either through reenacting or trips, most of the major battle sites from the Mississippi east. With his son, Alex, Sean traveled as far as Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia and the Carolinas. He was affiliated with the 3rd Alabama and 14th North Carolina. Tom recalls the concern many years ago with his then very young grandson, Alexander, traveling so far with Sean for Alexander’s first reenactment. “His wife told Sean to make sure nothing happens to Alex. Within their first 10 minutes at the Neshaminy State Park camping visit, Alex ran directly into a pole which left a GIANT welt and “egg” on his forehead! Sean was so afraid of how much trouble he was going to be in when he arrived back home with our “son” that the guys teased him about it all weekend!”

Sean loved traveling, and he and Tom spent the weeks before his untimely death on a twelve-day Stephan Ambrose tour following the Louis & Clark Expedition (1804-06), beginning in Great Falls, Montana and ending 2,000 miles away in Astoria, Washington. Both men, avid readers with book collections that Thomas Jefferson would have envied, already knew that Jefferson sponsored Meriwether Lewis to put together the team to explore the territories that were part of the Louisiana Purchase. There were large regions no white man had ever seen. The Ambrose tour was important to Sean. “We both wanted to understand the who’s, why’s and reasons our incredible country was founded, and the basis of our government. The Expedition was truly one of the greatest and most difficult explorations in world history. It changed the history of the United States.” The 19th century expedition opened the vast west to the migration from the east and foreign immigration to take advantage of the American dreams of exploration, ownership of homes and farms, and many other basic human drives for progress. “This region is also intimately linked to the founding of our country, Napoleon, the Spanish and British and the expansion west. It was another proof that the brilliant documents of our founding – the Declaration and the Constitution – worked.”

Sean heard about Old Baldy after meeting Harry Jenkins, a Roundtable member for over 31 years. Harry was a customer at the Cinnaminson diner where Sean’s mother, Jane, waitressed. She saw Harry thumbing through a history magazine, knew Sean liked history, and made the introduction. From then on, Sean and Harry had maintained an extremely strong friendship. And Sean did eventually join Old Baldy 7 ½ years ago and served as secretary since 2019. He was co-chair with Tom in planning the Western Theater Symposium that was to be held at Rutgers University Camden this past April. Besides Old Baldy, Sean supported the American Battlefield Trust Preservation and was an official fan of the Delaware Valley soccer group “Sons of Ben” named after Benjamin Franklin.

This past June Sean, his family, Tom and Valerie, attended the grand opening of the Armed Forces Heritage Museum of Burlington, NJ, about 40 miles north from his home in Hammonton. What made this event so special to Sean was the unveiling of Alexander’s dioramas. In addition to reenacting and sewing his own uniforms from scratch, Alexander has an exceptional, self-taught ability to create dioramas. He has produced them for multiple wars. Alexander also provided an exhibit on WWII uniforms and equipment. The museum management appreciates his unflinching passion for history.

Profile written by Kim Weaver & Tom Scurria

Jim Mullen — Member Profile

Jim Mullen was born in October of 1935 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He grew up in Northeast Philadelphia alongside his two brothers and went to Northeast Catholic High School. During this time, he enjoyed playing sports with his friends, reading books such as Sherlock Holmes, and playing the saxophone in his school band. After high school, he decided to commute to Villanova University, which required trolley rides, train rides, and car rides from friends until he eventually got his own car. He took the LSAT while in college and received a score that got him a scholarship for Villanova Law School. He lived on campus and although it was hard, he enjoyed his law school experience. He graduated from Villanova Law School in 1960.

After graduation, Jim decided to look for work in New Jersey because that is where his family had moved to. He took a bar review course and passed the bar exam on his first try, becoming a New Jersey attorney. He got hired at a law firm in Camden where he did trail work. He liked working with other attorneys and he was happy with his successful career. He became a partner of the firm until it dissolved in 1998. He then went into private practice until 2015 when he decided to retire.

In 1963, Jim married Judith, a legal secretary he had met at a Christmas party. The couple have been married for almost 60 years and have had four children together: Jenny, Jim, Thomas, and Terry. Jenny, Thomas, and Terry followed in their father’s footsteps and became lawyers themselves. Jim and Judith enjoy traveling together, and they have visited multiple battlefields on their trips.

He became interested in the Civil War during high school when he read a series of books about the war written by Bruce Catton. His father was also interested in the topic. Jim would talk with his friends about the war and travel to related historical sites in his youth. He joined the Old Baldy Civil War Round Table with his friend while it was still located in Philadelphia. He loved traveling with the Old Baldy CWRT to visit the battlefield at Antietam. Besides the Civil War, he enjoys reading about local and country-wide politics.

Ed Komczyk — Member Profile

Long before he joined the Civil War Roundtable (and became Waldorf to Bill Sia’s Statler of Muppets fame), Ed Komczyk was a star-rank Boy Scout concerned about the environment.

Ed was born in 1939 in Woodbury, NJ and lived with his family in the Red Bank section of West Deptford where he was raised. He was about 12 years old when he discovered an oil slick in the river that appeared to generate from the local Texaco oil refinery near Red Bank Ave. and Front St. the place locals know as Soupy Island, a 15-acre parcel along the Delaware River in Gloucester County. That scene stayed with Ed and he vowed to help create through advocacy a cleaner, greener future for West Deptford. “Yes, I’m a tree hugger!”

At the independent age of 15, Ed started offering accordion lessons at Klayman’s Music Center in Woodbury. He was unsure if he was good enough at the instrument to teach others but it WAS the instrument of the 50s and enough people in the neighborhood seemed intrigued to learn it. He bought his first accordion in 1957 for $1700, a fortune then, but Ed assures us he was making the big bucks to afford it. That same year, as a senior at Paulsboro High School, Ed enrolled in a drafting training program offered by RCA in Camden, and upon completion of the program and his subsequent high school graduation, he was hired on. After a year at the company he left to work full-time at Klayman’s.

Ed’s accordion days came to an end when he enrolled at Glassboro State College (now Rowan University) to major in science and math. It is mathematics that Ed would go on to teach for 33 years at Pennsauken High School, and where he would meet Miriam Reichenbach, an English teacher and reading specialist, and later in her career, a librarian who has been his loving wife for 35 years. “I was fortunate to be a teacher. I had a wonderful career. I know I impacted lives because I still get together with past students for dinner.”

Pennsauken High School played an important role in Ed’s now 25-year membership in Old Baldy CWRT. There he met with fellow teachers and Old Baldy members Bill Sia (American Government and History) and Bill Hughes (P.E and soccer coach). As union reps, Ed and Bill Sia worked together scrutinizing union contracts (“Bill Sia was my wingman”). And Bill Hughes is the one who asked Ed to tag along to an Old Baldy meeting. All three men have remained good friends and continue to support the Roundtable.

Like many Old Baldy members, Ed has been interested in the Civil War since high school. As he got older, though, his appreciation for the conflict deepened. “You age into loving history. I’d be driving down the interstate highway on really hot days and think about the troops marching in their wool uniforms and how tough they were.” Reconstruction, the period in American history that followed the Civil War – or what prominent historian Eric Foner called the nation’s second founding – is of particular interest to Ed.
“It was viewed as the formative stage of modern America – we had the underpinnings of a nation.”

Ed’s respect for military soldiers is evident in his admiration for 18th century Polish General and military engineer, Thaddeus Kosciuszko, who not only fought for democracy in the American Revolutionary War but also designed and built fortifications on the Delaware and Hudson rivers. Thomas Jefferson called Kosciuszko “as pure a son of liberty as I have ever known.” A book about the freedom fighter, The Peasant Prince: Thaddeus Kosciuszko and the Age of Revolution by Alex Storozynski sits on Ed’s bedside table. “He embodied the spirit of why we fought the war and why we exist today.”

Over the years, Ed has been honored for his restoration work on the USS New Jersey, berthed on the Delaware River and now a living museum and memorial in Camden, NJ. Together, he and Miriam serve on the West Deptford Environmental Commission: Ed as vice chair and Miriam as chairperson.

Today, Ed splits his leisure time between driving his Chevrolet C8 Corvette Stingray, flying (he’s been a licensed pilot for 50 years), and relearning the accordion. Two years ago he took it up again after 50-plus years of silence.

Profile written by Kim Weaver