Frieda Delcos Warner Frieda Delcos Warner (1929-1994) was a teacher and community leader who set an extraordinary example of public service in the face of personal obstacles. A resident of Somerset, N.J., for many years, she was the beloved wife of her husband, Russ, and a devoted mother to their three children, Barbara, Bill and Warren. Born in Corona, N.Y., Frieda spent most of her childhood in Nutley, N.J., the daughter of Greek immigrants, and graduated with a teaching degree from Montclair State College. She married Russ and for several years taught in Clifton and Newark, N.J.
In 1965 Frieda and Russ moved to Somerset, N.J. with their three children. But only a few years later she was stricken with kidney failure, which led to the need for dialysis—a medical treatment at that time in its infancy. Despite the enormous health challenges involved in undergoing dialysis twice a week, Frieda was active in the JFK Democratic Club and the local branch of the League of Women Voters, registering voters, volunteering in elections, and writing letters to the editor on the hot political issues of the day. In one memorable letter published in the Homes News in May 1973, she called for the resignation or impeachment of President Richard Nixon, saying, “he has disgraced the office of the presidency.” After years of undergoing dialysis treatments in her home, Frieda underwent a kidney transplant later in 1973, thanks to a kidney donated by her sister Irene. At that time organ transplants were not as common as today, but the revolutionary surgery, performed at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, was successful.
With her health restored, Frieda became a teacher in the Franklin school system, initially as a permanent substitute teacher, then as a basic skills math teacher at Franklin High School. She subsequently taught at both Hillcrest and Sampson G. Smith schools. She also ran for public office and was elected to the Franklin Township Council, serving as an at-large councilwoman from 1978 to 1982 and as deputy mayor from 1982 to 1983. Improving the township’s infrastructure was one of her main priorities during her term of service.
In addition, Frieda was a county committeewoman for 15 years. She served as corresponding secretary and then president of the JFK Democratic Club, as vice chairwoman of the township Human Relations Commission for three years and was also a member of the Affirmative Action Advisory Committee.
In 1990, in recognition of her years of dedicated community service, she was the first recipient of the annual Democrat of the Year award in Franklin Township. In a newspaper article reporting on that honor, Frieda said of her years on the council, “I felt my strength was that I was approachable. I was someone you could talk to. The best feeling you can get as someone in elected office is when you can help someone in a tangible way.”
Stressing the need for political engagement in a democratic society, she also said, “I feel that it’s very important to be politically involved. When you’re involved, you affect change. When you’re not involved, change takes place without your participation.” After 20 years of service, Frieda retired from the school system in 1994. She died later that year, just a few months after welcoming the birth of her granddaughter, Alia. The JFK Scholarship Fund was started three years later, in her honor. Submitted by Barbara Capone, daughter of Frieda and Russ Warner February 22, 2018