Howard Kupperman, 82, former mayor of Longport, N.J.
THE FAMOUS smiley face on the water tower at Longport, N.J., was not the only accomplishment of former Mayor Howard Kupperman in nearly 30 years of service to New Jersey, but it certainly was part of his legacy.
The happy face, which was meant to give the Atlantic County resort town a fun and upbeat look and was the first sight visitors crossing the bridge from the mainland saw, was painted over early last year in an aborted contract that remains in dispute.
It was Kupperman's daughter, Wendy, who had suggested the smiley face, and it was painted on the 125-foot tower in 1982. Town officials hope to restore the face by Easter.
Howard Kupperman was mayor of Longport from 1983 to 1992. A former New Jersey assemblyman, longtime lawyer and Air Force veteran of the Korean War, Kupperman died Tuesday. He was 82 and lived in Tarpon Springs, Fla.
As an assemblyman from 1976 to '77, Kupperman co-sponsored the bill that helped to bring casinos to Atlantic City.
Kupperman graduated from Pleasantville High School in 1948 and went on to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, from which he received a degree in economics.
After his Air Force service - during which he attained the rank of major - he attended Rutgers Law School, graduating in 1961. He practiced law in New Jersey until 1990.
That year, then-Gov. James Florio appointed him a state workers'-compensation judge. He retired in 1996 and moved to the Virgin Islands.
He enjoyed sailing and swimming for the next 17 years, and even acted as an adviser on casino-gambling matters to legislators in the Caribbean islands.
Kupperman was a commissioner of Longport from 1966 to 1992, and also served as solicitor for numerous zoning, planning and school boards over the years.
Besides his daughter, he is survived by his wife, Lina Jane; another daughter, Carolyn Kupperman; a son, David Kupperman; a sister, Pearl Lichten, and a grandson.
Services: 1 p.m. Sunday at the Williams Funeral Home in Chilhowie, Va. Donations may be made to the Sun Coast Hospice, 5771 Roosevelt Blvd., Clearwater, Fla., 33760.