Muriel Oliver was born on a hot day August 19th of 1929 a mere 2 months before the US economy crashed. But she didn’t care. She was born on 2nd Street in Beach Haven in a small apartment set back off the street. Her loving parents, mother Muriel Howard Oliver and father Ep (Edmund) Deemer Oliver, made a home for her in several places in Beach Haven, Florida and finally settling just 4 doors up the street from her birthplace at 211 2nd St, where she lived until she went off to college. She grew up swimming, sailing and working on Long Beach Island.
She graduated from Goddard College (“that experimental school”) in Vermont in 1952 and then moved California taking a position as secretary to the president of Stanford University for a year before she returned to New Jersey to be married. Muriel joined her husband at his army station in Germany. There she gave birth in 1957 to her daughter, Lesley Ann. She and her new family moved to Syracuse, NY where they lived temporarily until her husband took a position at St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY in the far north of New York where their 2nd daughter, Tanya Carol, was born in 1960.
Muriel was a dedicated teacher for many years receiving her Master’s degree in education from Syracuse University in 1969. She was not only dedicated to teaching, she excelled at it. She was a mentor to many and a colleague who one could share their insecurities and their wins. She must have taught over a thousand children. She remarked at one point, “Now instead of accidently calling me mom, they call me grandma!” She taught in the inner city of Syracuse, NY the suburbs and small towns of NYS and finished her career at the Long Beach Island Grade School retiring in 1993.
In 1984 Muriel changed her name back to Oliver after her divorce and began a new chapter in her life, traveling and experiencing the freedom of “doing her own thing”. She went to Switzerland for a summer, traveled Europe, to Alaska, New Zealand, Las Vegas and Iowa! She visited Florida with her sisters many times. But home was where she was happiest. Seeing her grandchildren and great grandchildren, her sisters, nieces and nephews gave her news to share and occasions to celebrate.
She was in later years writing family stories and doing talks with her sisters, Chloe Oliver and Marion Larson, for local groups on growing up on the Long Beach Island in the “olden days”! This gave her much joy.
She is survived by her daughter Lesley Reiner Daniels and her husband James, grandchildren Kyle (Lauren), Corey, and Kelsey Daniels, her daughter Tanya Reiner English and her husband Edward, grandchildren Liberty, Betsy and Samuel English and 4 greatgrandchildren, DJ English, Morgan, Sydney and Payton Daniels, and her sisters Marion (Oliver) Larson and Chloe Oliver.
She was a-religious although very proud of her perfect attendance pin from Sunday school, politically left of center and a supporter of women’s rights, minorities and anyone whose voice was unheard. Education was her #1 passion in life and she never stopped learning. She was sharp tongued, no sufferer of fools, loved to laugh, and entertain although she “could not tell a joke to save her life” and encouraged all to follow their passions.
A memorial will be held on Saturday January 30th at the Beach Haven Firehall from 2-5 with a program starting at 2:30pm.
In lieu of flowers please make donations to Barnegat Light Historical Society, P.O. Box 386 Barnegat Light, NJ 08008.