Burnett Peter Van Deusen
VanDeusen-BurnettPeter 1936.gif
Sex: Male
Birth: November 10, 1913 (1913-11-10) (109 years ago)
Albany, New York
Death: October 31, 1993 (age 79)
29 years ago
Montville, New Jersey
Burial: Restland Memorial Park
East Hanover, New Jersey
Father: Benjamin Spencer Van Deusen I (1872-1937)
Mother: Lynette Mae Curlhair (1872-1942)
Siblings: Lillian Van Deusen (1899-1961)
Mildred Lynette Van Deusen (1901-1968)
Benjamin Van Deusen II (1903-1972)
Spouse/Partner: Naida Muriel Freudenberg (1915-1998)
Marriage: October 26, 1935 (age 21)
87 years ago
Jersey City, New Jersey

Burnett Peter Van Deusen (1913-1993) high school graduation photo from 1931

Naida Muriel Freudenberg (1915-1998) and Burnett Peter Van Deusen (1913-1993) on October 26, 1935, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 195 Claremont Avenue, Jersey City, New Jersey

Burnett Peter Van Deusen (1913-1993) and Naida Muriel Freudenberg (1915-1998) in 1952 in Jersey City

In 1960 while on vacation in Georgia, Pete saved a boy who was drowning in the motel pool

Burnett Peter Van Deusen (1913-1993) and Naida Muriel Freudenberg (1915-1998) in 1993

Burnett Peter Van Deusen (1913-1993) aka Pete Van Deusen. He was a magnetic ink salesman at Sun Chemical. (b. November 10, 1913, Albany, Albany County, New York, 12208, USA - d. October 31, 1993, Montville, Morris County, New Jersey, 07045, USA) Social Security Number 058077827.


Burnett Peter Van Deusen (1913-1993) was a third cousin, six times removed, of Martin Van Buren (1782-1862), who was the 8th President of the United States of America from 1837 to 1841. Burnett's ninth great-grandfather was Abraham Pietersen Van Deusen (1602-c1670) who emigrated from Haarlem in the Netherlands and settled in New Amsterdam (now Manhattan in New York City).


Burnett never used his first name and he always went by his middle name which was "Pete". He was always known as Peter Van Deusen.


Burnett was the son of Benjamin S. Van Deusen I (1872-1937) and Lynette Mae Curlhair (1872-1942). Benjamin was the son of Peter B. Van Deusen (1845-1926); and Catherine Burnett (1845-1926). Lynette was the daughter of Freeman C. Curlhair (1834-1910), a cigar store merchant and harness maker; and Lydia A. Gaige (1837-1903).


Burnett was born in Albany, Albany County, New York on November 10, 1913.


New York to New Jersey[]

Around 1922 the family moved from Albany to Jersey City.

High School[]

He graduated from Lincoln High School in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1934. He was the business manager for "The Quill", the school yearbook. He was voted "committeeman", and was secretary of the Glee Club in 1933 and 1934. He participated in the Constitution Day Program, and participated in the musical comedy "Kathleen" in 1928. Pete was living at 63 Madison Avenue in Jersey City at the time.


On Saturday, October 26, 1935 Burnett married Naida Muriel Freudenberg (1915-1998) and they had three children.


An undated newspaper article circa 1935-1940: "Trinity Lutheran Church to present sacred cantata. A sacred cantata entitled "The Resurrection" will be presented tomorrow evening at 8, in Trinity Lutheran Church, under the direction of Peter Van Deusen."

Jersey City[]

Pete and Naida lived at 538 Bramhall Avenue in Jersey City. On November 24, 1936 he filled out his Social Security application and he was living at 194 Seaview Avenue in Jersey City. His friends and neighbors in Jersey City were: Samuel Kirkpatrik (1887-1970) and his wife, Charlotte Kirkpatrik (1885-1982) aka Daisy Kirkpatrik.


He worked for the Eagle Printing Company division of Sun Chemical in Jersey City. Initially he was a color tester and would adjust the colors of batches of their inks. When they needed a salesman for their new line of magnetic inks used for bank checks, they moved him into the sales position and he reluctantly took the job. Magnetic inks sales grew rapidly and he said: "I don't have to sell the ink, I just record the sales, it sells itself."

Caldwell, New Jersey[]

Around April 17, 1960, he moved out of Jersey City and bought a house in Caldwell, New Jersey. He joined the Holy Trinity Church in North Caldwell.

Saved boy from drowning[]

On July 6, 1965 while on vacation in Atlanta, Georgia, Pete saved a boy who was drowning in the motel pool. The story was written up in the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

2 Bystanders Rescue Child From Pool. A 3-year-old Macon boy who fell into a motel swimming pool in Atlanta Monday afternoon was saved front drowning by two bystanders, police said. The child, identified as Si Simmons, was seen floating face down in the pool at Holiday Inn, 1810 Howell Mill Road, by Pete Van Deusen of Fairfield, N.J, who jumped in and hauled the boy out. L. E. Dixon, an Atlanta water works employee, gave the child artificial respiration, police said. A physician who examined the boy said he would recover, police reported. The child's mother told them the boy had told her he was going out to play in some swings.

A 30 second interview with Pete was broadcast on local television in Georgia and a VHS copy of the interview exists, that copy was transferred to the "vob" format and then the "mpg" format in 2008.

  • Peter Van Deusen: "... You just act. The thing happens and you jump, or do whatever you have to do. I believe you have to think later, you don't have time to think. Its like when your playing ball, I guess, and if your pitching and the batter hits one straight back at the box. Its an instinctive thing to put the glove up to protect yourself, you don't have time to think, you just act first.
  • Interviewer: "How does it feel to be a hero now?"
  • Peter Van Deusen: "I don't feel like I'm a hero. I mean there were a lot of people mixed up in this. There was the woman that hollered, the man that gave him mouth to mouth, the rescue squad. It took a lot of us to really do the job. I just happened to be the one that was in the pool."


He died on October 31, 1993 while having dinner at the wedding of his grand-daughter.

Funeral notice[]

His funeral notice appeared in the Star Ledger, Tuesday, November 02, 1993, page 44:

Van Deusen - B. Peter, of Montville, formerly of Fairfield and Jersey City, on Sunday, October 31, 1993, husband of Naida Freudenberg Van Deusen, father of N. Lynn Bode of West Milford, Joan E. Schwendel of Lake Hopatcong, and S. Penny Linson of Kinnelon, grandfather of David, Diana, Craig, Toni Lynn, Mark, Paul, Beth, Tracy, Christy, April and John, great-grandfather of Amanda, Sean, Kris, Erik, Lauren, Paul, A.J. and Craig. Funeral Service in the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, North Caldwell, on Wednesday at 10:30 am. Visiting in the Farmer Funeral Home, 45 Roseland Avenue (at Eagle Rock Avenue) Roseland, today at 2-4, 7-9. Interment Restland Memorial Park, East Hanover, New Jersey. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Memorial Fund of the Trinity Lutheran Church would be appreciated.


We give thanks for the life of Burnett Peter Van Deusen, born on November 10, 1913 in Albany, New York. He and Naida transferred their membership from Trinity Lutheran in Jersey City to Holy Trinity, North Caldwell on April 17, 1960. He died on October 31, 1993, after a faithful membership in his church, involved on Church Council, Church School Teacher, many years as Choir Director and soloist, on Witness and Evangelism Committee, Stewardship Committee, Helping Hands visitations, LAFF Group and many more. Surviving are his wife Naida Freudenberg Van Deusen, three daughters; Mrs Lynn Bode, Mrs. Joan Schwendel and Mrs. S. Penny Linson, 11 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren. The pall bearers: David Dahl, Craig Dahl, Mark Dahl, Paul Schwendel, Tony Falletta and John Linson. Committal at Restland Memorial Park, East Hanover, New Jersey. Many will remember him over the years as a dedicated choir director, soloist, avid coin and stamp collector [and] family photographer. He was an avid fan to all the grandchildren, whatever sport or activity they were involved with. He encouraged them in every phase of their lives. He kept in constant touch with each one, whether near or out of state. He was loyal to friends and family, never forgetting a birthday, always there to lend a helping hand. For many years the Van Deusen Christmas card list numbered 300. As children, we remember all the summer vacations, from the farm in Cobleskill, New York to the Jersey shore, to the relatives in Binghamton, New York, and Burlington, New Jersey. This encouraged us as we became parents, to continue this practice of yearly vacations with our children, whether to a resort or a relative's home. Dad believed in family first. He passed this belief down to us. Most recently in August, one son-in-law suffered a stroke, and Dad and Mom visited daily at the hospital, bringing newspapers, magazines and offering encouragement. Then a few weeks ago, his other son-in-law's father was seriously injured, and Dad faithfully called North Carolina 3 or 4 times a week, speaking to the family about his condition, and then calling each of us with the latest update. He was concerned with everyone's problems, was joyful with them when they were happy, celebrated with their successes. He was our champion in so many ways. His devotion to his wife, our mother, was almost beyond his endurance these past few years. But 58 years as husband and wife was his life and he continued on as he had lived.

Memories about Burnett Peter Van Deusen[]

Elwood Spencer Reeve (1925-2005) said in September of 1998. "Peter Van Deusen would bicycle the 69 miles from Jersey City to Burlington to visit us."

External links[]


See also[]


Burnett Peter Van Deusen (1913-1993)'s ancestors in three generations
Burnett Peter Van Deusen (1913-1993) Father:
Benjamin Spencer Van Deusen I (1872-1937)
Paternal Grandfather:
Peter B. Van Deusen (1845-1926)
Paternal Great-grandfather:
Benjamin S. Van Deusen (1826-1849)
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Rebecca Thorne (1825-1906)
Paternal Grandmother:
Catherine Burnett (1845-1926)
Paternal Great-grandfather:
Spencer Burnett (1817-1884)
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Barsina Barger (1818-1906)
Lynette Mae Curlhair (1872-1942)
Maternal Grandfather:
Freeman C. Curlhair (1834-1910)
Maternal Great-grandfather:
Henry Curlhair I (1805-?)
Maternal Great-grandmother:
Lydia Delia Latham (1814-?)
Maternal Grandmother:
Lydia A. Gaige (1837-1903)
Maternal Great-grandfather:
Daniel Gaige (1815-1859)
Maternal Great-grandmother:
Mary Hayes (1816-1851)