"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Sunday, February 20, 2005

An Outrage That Deserves Your Attention and Action

This is an incredibly sad story of a Livingston, New Jersey man dead in his home for over nine months before he was discovered. Unable to find any relatives, Essex County appointed an administrator to oversee Fred Hagmann’s estate and to provide the man a proper burial. The proper burial did not include a plaque or tombstone to mark Hagmann’s burial spot, even though the State of New Jersey absorbed all of his assets.

This is complexly outrageous and unacceptable. How dare the state take the man’s estate, apparently in excess of $250,000, and not buy an appropriate grave marker for the man’s burial plot. We hope if you are as outraged as we are, you take some action to have this ultimate injustice rectified. Here is the web page for Essex County and a Google search produces this result for Attorney Howard Waxman with an office in Newark.

A summary of the story below, the entire article here.

Fred Hagmann, 76 had been dead for at least nine months when he was found by police in his home in Livingston, New Jersey. No one missed him. He had no relatives and no friends. He didn't even bother to leave home to cash an estimated $235,000 worth of Social Security and pension checks police found scattered around the one-story Cape Cod he bought in 1961.

Police believe Hagmann died around Christmas of 2003, judging from one of the last pieces of mail he opened -- a greeting card from Thomas Green, a former colleague at Schering-Plough. Green, 85, has not spoken to Hagmann for years, but sent Christmas cards every year because he felt indebted to the man. On a snowy night in December, 1960, Hagmann drove through a storm to be by Green's side after his youngest daughter died unexpectedly.

"He was one of the first ones to come to the house and tried to be of assistance to me," said Green, a Scotch Plains resident. "He was like that with everybody." Hagmann, he said, was a very quiet man, but he was well-liked because of his work ethic. He worked at Schering-Plough for 40 years and was a chemical foreman when he retired.

Police tried to track down relatives, but their search was futile. Hagmann was an only child whose mother died in 1996 and father died in 1998. He never married nor did he father any children. Essex County appointed an administrator, attorney Howard Waxman, to oversee Hagmann's estate. Waxman has to settle any outstanding debts, including the $400 electric bill that accrued while Hagmann was dead. The house and all other assets will be absorbed by the state.

Waxman also was responsible for giving Hagmann a proper burial. On the afternoon of Feb. 4, Hagmann was laid to rest without ceremony in Graceland Memorial Park in Kenilworth. It took about 20 minutes to dig the hole and lower his casket in. There were no tears, no eulogy, no mourners. The sole attendant, the funeral director, said a prayer. There are no plans for a plaque or tombstone to mark his burial spot. It will soon be covered with fresh grass.


At 11:08 AM, Anonymous period 2 said...

Why dosen't someone try to find out more about Fred Hagmann. Where did he go to high school, college, friends??? no person deserves to go through life unoticed...

Maybe his estate should be used for the betterment of orphans...just as he was left an orphan....the state will just waste the money anyway.

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