350 Raritan Road Roselle, NJ 07203
(908) 245-2350

HONORABLE ROBERT REED '66

 
Judge, 
Superior Court of New Jersey
 
 
From the time an adolescent Robert Reed, a child of the first TV Generation, became a captivated viewer of Perry Mason he knew he wanted to practice law.  Today, the Honorable Robert Reed has been a Superior Court judge assigned to the criminal division for the past 11-years.
 
A member of the first class to have the distinction of spending all four years at Roselle Catholic’s newly opened Raritan Road campus in fall of 1962, Robert Reed traveled from his home in Garwood to enter RC with his freshman classmates -- the Class of 1966.
 
At a very early age Bob Reed was intrigued by the legal profession, a career he wanted to pursue even before he was in his teens.  In Bob’s case the early influence to practice law did not come from familial role models.  His came from a TV show.  “I was a fan of Perry Mason when I was 12 and that’s what put me on this road, believe it or not.  It was an inspiration, but it was also a real disappointment when I began to practice law and realized that cases didn’t begin and end in an hour.”
 
The Honorable Robert Reed, a resident of Flemington, NJ, is a Superior Court judge presently assigned to Warren County.  In September he’ll be returning to Somerville in Somerset County, where he has presided previously.  “In addition to Warren County I have served in Somerset and Hunterdon Counties, where I sat in the Family Division, the Civil Division, and for 8 of 11 years, in the Criminal Division where I preside over 15-20 trial per year.”
 
Judge Reed presided over the high profile trial and sentencing in 2012 of Amy Locane-Bovenizer, the one-time "Melrose Place" actress.  On June 27, 2010, Ms. Locane-Bovenizer was involved in a DUI auto accident that killed a Montgomery Township woman and critically injured her husband.
 
A Train Ride To Pittsburgh Ends At The Bench
 
When Bob Reed graduated Roselle Catholic in 1966, at the recommendation of Brother Patrick, he enrolled at St. Vincent College of Latrobe, PA, “the Princeton of the Allegheny’s” as he refers to it.  Bob recalls, “my parents packed a steamer trunk and put me on a train to Pittsburgh.  Off I went.  I’d never even visited St. Vincent’s before arriving.  My father gave me $900, which was the only money I ever got from him as he passed away shortly thereafter.”
 
Bob graduated from St. Vincent’s in the spring of 1970 and entered law school the following fall.  “I always had a job … been working since I was 12.  Right after graduating I was loading and unloading containerized freight in Port Elizabeth.  I said to myself, “I ought to have an adventure.”  I packed a bag and hitchhiked across country.  12 weeks.  That was pretty exciting.  I managed to make it home in one piece.  Got back on a Friday and started law school on Monday!”
 
In 1973 Bob graduated from Seton Hall Law.  After a brief period in a private practice he became a Parole Revocation Hearing Officer for the NJ State Parole Board, eventually becoming its Executive Director.  In 1976, he became an Assistant County Prosecutor in Hunterdon County.
 
After serving in the Prosecutor’s Office, Bob went to the NJ Department of Corrections as Special Assistant to the Commissioner.  In 1978 he “hung out a shingle” to practice law as a certified civil trial attorney and certified criminal trial attorney, beginning a three plus decade career in the private practice of law.  In 1985, Attorney Reed was designated by the NJ Supreme Court as a Certified Criminal Trial Attorney and Certified Civil Trial Attorney.  At that time, of the 60,000+ attorneys in New Jersey, less than 60 were certified in those two practices.
 
During his tenure in private practice Bob taught at both Rutgers University, Camden (1978-79) and Warren County Community College (2001-04) as an Adjunct Professor.
 
In 2004 Attorney Reed was nominated to the Superior Court and confirmed by the State Senate, and began his judicial career in October 2004.
 
The Honorable Robert Reed, a NJ Superior Court judge in the Criminal Division, on the bench
where he presides over 15-20 trials per year
 
In addition to presiding over many noteworthy trials Bob is most proud of being the first recipient of the Communities of Light Social Justice Award given by Hunterdon County Women’s Crisis Services, which is a service organization for victims of domestic violence.  This is an award he displays proudly in his chambers.  Yet, speaking of recognition, “the one I’m most proud of are the Father’s Day cards that I receive from my five kids.”
 
Family Matters
 
Bob’s oldest daughter, Alexis, a Douglass College graduate, is a social worker in Eugene, Oregon and the mother of his only grandchild, 5½-year-old boy, Ravi Ben.  His oldest son, Robert, is an Afghanistan combat vet with the U.S. Navy Expeditionary Combat Command Joint Special Operations, having served 6 years and honorably discharged on a service related disability.  His son Jonathan, an East Carolina University grad, is on active duty as a U.S. Navy Air Traffic Controller at Corpus Christi Naval Air Station.
 
Bob and his wife Lisa Jensen celebrated16 years of marriage this past June; his stepson Nicholas, an East Carolina University grad, is a graduate student in the University of Delaware’s athletic training program.  Bob and Lisa have a 14-year-old daughter, Rachel, who is an incoming freshman at Hunterdon Central Regional High School and quite an accomplished soccer player.  “The five kids are my greatest achievement.  By being the young adults that they are they make me a happy father every day of the year.”
 
Bob and his grandson
 
As mentioned, Bob had the misfortune of losing his Dad in 1968 when he was a freshman in college.  He recently suffered the loose of his mother.  Bob has a sister Jane, a brother Kenneth (an RC grad) and a brother Thomas, “who are all doing well.”
 
A Proud ‘66-er!
 
In the annals of Roselle Catholic alumni, the Class of 1966 is one of those special classes that have enjoyed a strong bond and enduring connection over the years.  Much of that can be attributed to Marty Pribush and Mike Minitelli who from the onset have kept their classmates connected.
 
“There’s kind of an aura to what we call the 66’ers.  When we had that 40th reunion and Stan “Stash” Wlosek rolled up his ‘64 Chevelle in front of RC it brought back so many great memories.  I have the group photo of the class framed in my chambers.  My contact with classmates has been pretty consistent over the years.  I’ve maintained contact with many of them and re-established contact with a few others.  We used to meet once a year at Frenchy’s.”
 
A resident of Garwood during his Roselle Catholic years – his family moved there from Bayonne – Bob played intramural sports and ran track his freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years, exclaiming, “I was never a stand-out, but I really liked it – the sense of competition and being on a team.”
 
Almost 40-years before Bob Reed sat on the bench
he sat at his RC desk
 
As Bob talks about his days at Roselle Catholic his best memory and favorite teacher come to mind.  “Probably my best memory is the sense of community at the school and the camaraderie among my classmates.  I’ve really come to appreciate that over the years.  My favorite teacher had to be my history teacher Franklyn Bauer; he was such a classy and smart man.”
 
At the core of his Roselle Catholic experience, Bob acknowledges, “We were all kids from working class families.  We all had a similar experience of growing up in families that were mentored by what Tom Brokaw called “The Greatest Generation.”  Our parents went through the Depression and World War II … we were all their kids.  We were from Roselle, Roselle Park, Cranford, Elizabeth, Garwood … it was really a salt of the earth group, a wonderful group of guys.”
 
Bob continues by saying, “The experience of going to Roselle Catholic at that time in the mid-60’s was like the tan you got in the summertime … it never quite faded completely.  We all carried it with us into adulthood.  I don’t know if Roselle Catholic had an effect on where or what I am, but it certainly affected who I am.  I think the years between the ages of 14 and 19 are formative in a young person’s life.  Although I didn’t pay attention as much as I should have to the examples being set and the lessons being learned – the overall experience at Roselle Catholic was a positive one and that certainly contributed, as I said, to the person I am today.”
 
As Bob talks about his classmates, “the fact that now in our late 60’s we can still reminisce about things that happened 50 years ago in a fond and friendly manner is just remarkable to me.”  He calls special attention to Bob Stickles, a classmate who after a successful law career came to his alma mater to first become Roselle Catholic Principal, and then its President.  “My perception of RC today is a good one.  The thing that I like about it is the leadership of Bob Stickles.  Even though I may be biased because he’s one of my ’66 classmates, I think Bob has shown a commitment to the school and to its continuity as a high standard in secondary education.  It’s a real good place for young people to be.  I called Bob when he was appointed and said, “Good for you, but more importantly good for Roselle Catholic.”  He was an outstanding choice.”
 
Motivation, Challenges & Goals
 
Bob Reed credits both his mother and father as role models and a great source of his personal motivation.  “My mother was the only one before me who ever graduated high school in my family.  My father never did.  He was in the Navy in the Philippines in WWII.  It was just assumed by them that I would go to college, get an education and wind up better off than they were.  The tragedy was that my father died at 42 and my mother recently passed away on my birthday.  She was my primary motivation.”
 
“The biggest challenge for me as I expect it is for many, is staying on the right road to an upstanding and honest life.  Which I confess over 68 years has been met with mixed success.  But you keep trying no matter how difficult or challenging life may become.  Life is good, but it isn’t always easy.  Nor should we expect it to be.  Maintaining the right frame of mind and lifestyle that would make your kids proud of you has always been my goal.  I want to live a long life and enjoy the company of more grandchildren.”
 
Reading and fishing are two of Bob’s favorite pastimes.  “Anything outdoors in the fresh air” he claims as his favorite vacation spot.  “I fell in love with this country when I hitchhiked cross country in 1970.  Whether it’s Key West or Jackson Wyoming -- I just like to be outside.  I like to fish the Great Bay or out in the Atlantic, or for trout and bass in Hunterdon Country.”
 
Rolling With The Punches
 
Back in his 30’s Bob was into bicycle racing and won the gold medal in the Veterans Bicycle Race at the Garden State Games.
 
Today Bob Reed gets his workout in the boxing ring.  At 65 he took up boxing.  Lacing up the gloves and putting on headgear he has boxed in two amateur bouts.  “My last bout was at Gleason’s Gym, the oldest continuous boxing gym in the United States.  There aren’t many knuckleheads at 66 and 67 who are boxing.  It’s hard to find anyone to fight!  Getting whacked in the head by another guy is definitely a way to get out of your comfort zone.  It’s great exercise.  I belong to the Old Dog Boxing Club and I’m one of the few who goes outside the gym to actually box.  The workouts are incredible.  I haven’t been in this good a shape since my 30’s when I was racing bicycles.”
 
Bob claims to look forward to mandatory retirement at age 70, three years hence, to have more time to indulge in his favorite hobbies and pastimes.
 
One of Bob Reed’s favorite expressions is, “it is what it is.”  One he feels a kinship to in guiding his attitude toward life and career.  So while “rolling with the punches” may be a boxing metaphor it seems to have deeper meaning for Bob, possibly a mantra for life, rather than merely a cliché attributed to his newest pastime.
 
So while the Honorable Robert Reed may spend much of his time “sitting on the bench,” he has been and will no doubt remain a man in motion.  A man pleased with the good things in his life, as he signs off by saying, “I am very happy with the blessings that God’s good graces have given me.”
 
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“I don’t know if Roselle Catholic had an effect on where I am,
but it certainly affected who I am.”
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