Family, friends and elected officials gathered in Ridgewood to honor Maureen Walthers, the former owner and publisher of the Ridgewood Times and Times Newsweekly, with a street renaming ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 27.
Walthers died on Aug. 30, 2020, after a brief illness. She was 86 years old.
The ceremony took place at the north corner of Woodbine Street and Fresh Pond Road in Ridgewood, close to where she once resided. The street was named “Maureen Walthers Way.”
The event was sponsored by Councilman Robert Holden’s office. Holden began the ceremony by speaking about Walthers and what she meant to him personally.
Holden spoke about Walthers’ work at the Ridgewood Times, where she became the first female editor, as well as executive vice president and co-owner. Two years later, she purchased the paper from the previous owner, Carl Clemons.
“The Ridgewood Times at that time was the newspaper. The layout of the Ridgewood Times was again, the most complete, the most professional, and it rivaled actually many many daily newspapers,” Holden said. “Maureen was such a great, great friend. Maureen meant so much to everyone. I miss her.”
Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan worked alongside Walthers for many years and spoke about a woman who was fun but also a leader in the community.
“Let me just say, Maureen was a witty, fashionable, fun person — but she was also a leader. Many people are concerned, but very few people really step up. And as time went on, Maureen did not lessen what she did; she expanded what she did,” Nolan said.
Nolan also spoke about Walthers’ work ethic and the way in which she accomplished things with the tools at her disposal.
“All of it was with a great sense of fun, but a great sense of dedication of trying to get things done. That is really lacking right now in many ways in city and state governments. [It’s] very difficult to get people to put their ideology aside and sit down and say how do we solve this problem,” Nolan said. “Maureen cut through all of that with her very tremendous personality, her wit, and of course the bully pulpit of the newspaper. The late writer Jim Dwyer, who was a wonderful writer for The New York Times, once commented about Maureen and the Ridgewood Times and said they were like a pit bull on an issue. And that’s what local journalism is supposed to be about,” Nolan said.
Robert Pozarycki, former editor-in-chief of the Ridgewood Times and current editor-in-chief of amNewYork Metro, spoke about the importance of the community to Walthers.
“She often had this quote that Carl [Clemons] said: The string bean farmer wants to know about the string bean crop. She was talking about what was important to the people of the neighborhood and that was something that was always instilled to me and to everybody else who worked for her,” Pozarycki said. “There’s a quote at the Rotunda at Citi Field by Jackie Robinson: ‘A life isn’t important except in the impact it has on other lives.’ It’s a demonstration of what Maureen was. Her work had a tremendous impact on Ridgewood. She loved this community deeply.”
Former Senator Serphin Maltese described Walthers as a role model to the female leaders who came after her.
“Maureen was unique. I used to call her the Maureen O’Hara of Ridgewood. She was the original feminist. This area of Ridgewood, which is known as a conservative area, ended up being the fatherland, or motherland if you would, of women — successful, energetic women. And we owe a great deal to them, and certainly to Maureen,” Maltese said.
Maltese, like many others, shared stories that revealed Walthers’ wit and unique personality.
“Maureen was a leader in every way. Maureen showed the way. I remember when she first got the job in the Ridgewood Times, she said, ‘Someday I’m gonna own this paper.’ I think she was with the Ridgewood Times about two weeks,” Maltese said.
Paul Kerzner worked with Walthers on many major community projects in Ridgewood for almost 5o years and spoke about the work they did together.
“I have to thank Maureen for the memories. We did good together. In fact, we did more than good. Now you can rest, but only for a while, because when I get to hopefully join you again, we’ll pick up where we left off. I’m sure even in heaven, there is a small pocket or two that needs some attention and improvement,” Kerzner said.
Patricia Mack, Walthers’ daughter, spoke about the impact having Walthers as a mother had on her.
“Growing up with a mother like Maureen, it’s an incredible experience. Not everybody gets to know what it’s like to push the boundaries as a woman and get to do the things that other people didn’t do — but she did,” Mack said.
“She was truly an incredible woman. I can’t begin to tell you how much I miss her.”
The new street sign was then unveiled and Councilman Holden also presented a personal sign to Walthers’ daughter and granddaughters.