Jim Egidio: 39 years later, still a legend

Anyone who has been around the Bayshore any length of time certainly knows the name and the legends about Jim Egidio.

Jim Egidio the high school athlete; Jim Egidio who played semi pro ball in three sports after high school, baseball, basketball and football. Jim Egidio, whose name in high school sports was right up there with Keyes and Conover. Jim Egidio the soldier, Jim Egidio, the police officer, Jim Egidio, the Police Chief.

There was that one year the Atlantic Highlands club football team won the championship. After that, Jim joined the army and played with the military team, and most sportswriters carried an entire litany after his name every time they mentioned him in their columns..which was often.

In later years, whenever they referred to him and his coaching, the litany ran like this…private, police officer, baseball players, umpire, fireman, first aid official and sportsman…

There were other stories in the 1940s, too, of the great combination of Bishop, Carhart and Egidio umpiring basketball games at Fort Hancock and Fort Monmouth. Then there’s the story when the army team played the New York Giants, and Jim was one of the officials. Fooling, he gave his name as Jimmy Smith. And that’s the way it went down in the books.

And another story when the Army’s Camp Shanks beat Fort Hancock’s team and Jim was plate umpire for the game.

Coaching his alma mater’s team the Atlantic Highlands football players won the 1948-49 championship, Jim continued officiating at football and baseball games, something he had been doing since 1938. He was still clocking for the NJ football organization in 1976, though two heart attacks kept him from more active field work with football.

Of the three sports, Jim feels he had his greatest successes in basketball coaching and years later still belonged to basketball organizations.

Nothing ever really stopped Jim Egidio’s love for athletics and sports.

When he became Atlantic Highlands Police Chief in 1965, he had already been fire chief in the 1950s when he was a police captain, and president of the First Aid Squad in 1961 in which he had been a charter member, his smile was always so apparent they called him Smiling Jim, and his chief’s office at headquarters was decorated with trophies, plaques, mementos and memberships, all living testimony to his abilities in athletics.

Jim and his wife Vivien (she was a star basketball player when she was Vivien Therkelsen at Atlantic Highlands High) had two daughters, Elaine Hueneke and Roseann and when their grandson Christian was six years old, rumor had it he was taking after his grandpa. The photo on him on the chief’s desk in those years had him decked out in baseball regalia.

Jim was a members of the Police Department for 47 years, until his retirement as chief in 1977. He had succeeded Chief Sterling Sweeney.

Jim Egidio died 39 years ago this Sept. 7. He was 74 years old and a lifelong resident of the borough. He was buried from St. Agnes Church, where he had been a member and communicant all his life, and was a member of its Holy Name Society. He was also a member of the Columbus Council 2858 of the Knights of Columbus and the Eugene Allen Post 141 of the American Legion. He had been a first aid instructor, had continued to take courses in drug enforcement even as a chief, an army veteran and military police officer during World War II, and was a Red Cross instructor for more than a quarter of a century.

Jim Egidio. Truly a legend in his own time!


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