JOSEPH TOMPKINS JR. was born on October 2, 1929 to Leo
J. Tompkins Sr. and his wife, the former Cecilia Nichols.
His father, a native of New York, had come to Camden after
having served in the United States Navy during World War I and
into the 1920s. Leo
Tompkins Sr. appears to have come to Camden in the late 1920s. He is
not listed in the 1924 or 1927 Camden City Directories. He was
appointed to the Camden Fire Department on April 15, 1928 and
reported for duty with Engine Company 2 the following day.
Leo Tompkins Sr. married Cecilia Nichols around the same time he was
appointed to the Fire Department. The 1929 City Directory shows
that he was working for the Fire Department and living at 1769
Norris Street. The 1930 Census shows Leo and Cecilia Tompkins,
their children Mary and Leo J. Jr,, mother-in-law Mary and
brother-in-law Walter Nichols living at 1769
Norris Street. Fire
Department records from 1931 show that the Tompkins family had moved to
Street in North Camden, not far from Engine Company
where he had been transferred to in
August of 1930. On July 1,
1933 Leo Tompkins Sr. was assigned to Ladder Company
1, where he
remained until November of 1942.
more children were born to the family during the 1930s, Thomas
and James Tompkins. At
some point during the 1930s Leo and Cecilia Tompkins moved to
1282 South Merrimac Road in Camden's Fairview neighborhood. Leo Tompkins Sr.
would live out his days at this address. The 1940
Census shows the Tompkins family and their four children,
mother-in-law Mary Nichols, as well as Cecilia Tompkins' widower
brother Richard Nichols and his sons Richard Jr. and Alfred all
living at the Merrimac Avenue address.
America going to war after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor,
many veterans were recalled to service. Leo Tompkins Sr.
in the United States Navy on November 24, 1942 at Philadelphia
and on December 26 reported for duty as Boatswain's Mate 1st
Class aboard the USS PC-1121. In March of 1943 he was promoted to
Chief Boatswain's Mate. Fire
Department records indicate that he had returned from military
service by December of 1944. On December 5 he was assigned to Engine Company
3 at 1813 Broadway. He
was promoted to Captain on June 14, 1951. On June 16
he was assigned to Ladder Company
2 at 619 Kaighn
Avenue. He was later served with the Fire Marshall's office,
as Drillmaster at the Department's training facility, and with Radio Communications with
Bureau, where he served until retiring on pension
January 1, 1964. A
Camden resident to the last, Leo Tompkins Sr.
on July 1, 1976. His wife joined him in July of 1984.
Leo J. Tompkins
Jr. grew up in Fairview and had a long and distinguished
career with the Camden Police Department. He was appointed to
the department in 1953 and retired in 1981. Leo Tompkins
married Catherine Dolores Oakes of Gloucester City. Thee were
two children from this marriage, Steven and Michael Tompkins.
The Tompkins lived for many years at 2944 North Constitution
Road in Fairview, and were active in local civic affairs. In
1964 Leo Tompkins Jr. was president of the I.C.A.C.,
The Independent Citizens Athletic Club of Fairview, which stood
for many years at 1250 Collings Road, and was one of the two
social clubs in Fairview that had a liquor license. The Tompkins
were active members of St. Joan of Arc Roman Catholic Church in
Fairview, and also supported the Fairview Little League.
a resident of Mt. Ephraim, New Jersey, Leo Tompkins Jr. passed
away on October 19, 2004. He was buried at New St. Mary's
Cemetery in Bellmawr. Catherine Tompkins joined him in November