Dick Squires

In honor of his mentor, predecessor and dear friend, Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson has announced plans to rename the Atlantic County Veterans Cemetery for former County Executive Richard E. Squires, who died on April 2 at the age of 91.

“The establishment of this beautiful and serene veterans’ cemetery was one of Dick Squires’ crowning achievements,” Levinson said in a release. “It is only fitting that it be renamed in his honor, where the former Navy veteran of the Korean War who served on the USS Wisconsin lies in eternal peace with his wife, Winnie. It will now be known as the Richard E. Squires Veterans Cemetery.”

The cemetery, located in the Atlantic County Park in Estell Manor, was dedicated in May 1985 and originally included four acres. Over the years the cemetery has expanded to nearly 30 acres and also includes a columbarium for 900 cremation urns. The cemetery currently serves as the final resting place for nearly 6,500 military veterans and their spouses.

Atlantic County Veterans Cemetery in Estell Manor.

Squires’ family members have expressed their deep appreciation to Levinson for his decision to honor their brother, father and grandfather for his vision, dedicated service and the sincere care he put forth in helping create the Atlantic County Veterans’ Cemetery.

“Although I live in Utah, I have been to the county’s veterans’ cemetery with Dad over 40 times since it was established,” his eldest son, Keith, remarked: “His attention to these most special grounds and his genuine appreciation for all who will rest there was of his greatest importance.  Dad would not have thought about being recognized in this way, but I know how honored he would be. He dedicated his life to supporting the men and women who serve our great nation and protect our freedoms.”

Squires was first elected to the Atlantic County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 1975. He served as freeholder chairman from 1978 to 1983. He was then elected to serve as Atlantic County’s second county executive, a position he held for 16 years before retiring in 2000. Levinson was elected to succeed him.

In 2013, Levinson appointed Squires to serve as chairman of the Veterans Museum Committee that included veterans, historians and community members to assist with gathering, researching and accessioning artifacts and materials for the Atlantic County Veterans Museum which opened in 2017, adjacent to the county park and veterans cemetery.

“I believe he would be very proud to have his name associated with the veterans’ cemetery he helped create, and we are honored to provide this lasting tribute to him,” Levinson said.

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.