William Everett Schluter died on August 6 in his home on Main Street in Pennington, NJ after a two year battle with pancreatic cancer.
Bill was born in Bronxville, NY in 1927 and was raised in Princeton, NJ. He grew up on a working farm, Active Acres, which later became the site for Educational Testing Service. He attended Princeton Country Day School and Phillips Exeter Academy, and graduated from Princeton University in 1950 with honors, where he majored in Economics and played varsity hockey for four years.
Bill began his career working for Thermoid Incorporated in Trenton, NJ, and then moved to Sylvania Corporation in Buffalo, NY. After several years he returned to NJ, and with his brother Fred, founded NJ Forge, a manufacturing company in Plainfield. He and his wife Nancy settled in Pennington to raise a family. At this time, he became involved in local politics and served two terms as a member of the Pennington Borough Council. In 1964, Bill attended the Republican National Convention in San Francisco as a NJ delegate. It was at this point that he decided to devote his life to public service.
Bill served as a Republican state senator and assemblyman in the NJ legislature from 1968 to 1974 and from 1987 to 2002. As a crusader for ethics and government reform, he chaired the Joint Legislative Committee on Ethical Standards and sponsored laws to regulate lobbying and disclosure of campaign contributions and expenditures. Bill also served on committees overseeing environmental quality and land use. In 2001, he ran unsuccessfully as an independent for governor. Despite the long odds, Bill was described in one editorial as “a beacon of integrity in a capital often befogged by special interests and politics as usual.” Another opined “He’s a rare phenomenon: A veteran lawmaker and a straight arrow. For decades, he’s fought the good fight for honesty in government--often standing alone.”
Reflecting his deep interest in public policy and reform, Bill wrote numerous editorials and articles, including an Op-Ed in 1999 in the NY Times in opposition to gambling in NJ, “A Horse Race in Your House.” In 2017, he published “Soft Corruption: How Unethical Conduct Undermines Good Government and What To Do About It.” In reading this book one is reminded of a quote by the 18th century Irish philosopher Edmund Burke, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Throughout his career, Bill remained active in the community. He served on the boards of the NJ Historical Commission, the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association (now the Watershed Institute), and the Center for Analysis of Public Issues, and he was active in the Presbyterian Church of Pennington. His passion for hockey continued as a founding member of the Princeton Hockey Club (over 40 years as an adult player) and coach of the "Black Hawks" in Pee Wee Hockey (over 20 years), now the Princeton Youth Hockey Association.
Bill was proudest of his family and their many accomplishments. He leaves behind his wife of 68 years, Nancy Hurd Schluter, and six children: William E. Schluter, Jr. (Nancy) of Wilmington, DE, Nancy Schluter Thurston (Steve) of Manakin-Sabot, VA, Sally Schluter Tardella (Joseph) of Bloomfield Township, MI, Peter L. Schluter (Leslie) of Pennington, Stephen A. Schluter (Cindy) of Summit, NJ, and Philip H. Schluter (Julie) of Summit, NJ, 19 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren.
A funeral service will be held at the First Presbyterian Church of Pennington on August 11 at 12 noon, with Rev. David Hallgren officiating. In lieu of flowers Memorial contributions may be made in Bill’s name to the Watershed Institute in Pennington .
Arrangements are being made by the Blackwell Memorial Home of Pennington.