Bob Lincoln could hardly believe the letter he recently opened at his home in Hernando, Fla.
The missive was sent from Egg Harbor Township, N.J. – where he worked for 31 years as its Director of Parks and Recreation – and was signed by the mayor. Its purpose was to inform Lincoln that a newly built amphitheater in Tony Canale Park would soon be named in his honor.
“At first, I thought someone was playing a practical joke on me,” said Lincoln, a 1975 graduate of Collingdale High School who has been retired for three years now. “But then I looked closely at the mayor’s signature, and thought that if someone forged it, they did a heck of a job. I recognized his signature from working with him for so long, and it was a spot-on match.”
Indeed, the letter was authentic, and a ceremony dedicating the Robert J. Lincoln Amphitheater will be held on Friday, June 22 at 7 PM, before the first concert of the township’s 2018 Rhythm in the Park series.
“I used to spend a lot of time in South Jersey in the summer when I was a kid,” said Lincoln, 60. “When I graduated from Millersville, I wanted to try to work there in Parks and Recreation. But the jobs were slim pickings. This was before the advent of the casinos.
“A job became available in Egg Harbor Township, and I was happy to get it. Atlantic City’s massive growth transformed the area, so we were able to accomplish a lot during my career.”
“Under the stewardship of Bob, the township grew from a community of 15,000 or 16,000 people to one of 45,000 people,” said Peter Miller, a township administrator. “I don’t think we ever suffered a diminished opportunity for residents through our programs and/or through the expansion of parks that he was a part of. He kept up with the needs of the public.”
“Bob has a heart of gold, and he never wanted to tell anyone no,” said Wanda Schafer, Lincoln’s longtime assistant at the township. “If it meant doing it on his own time, at his own expense, if he could do it, he would.”