JAMES RUSSELL ASHER was born in Camden, New Jersey on December 21, 1923 to Walter Russell Asher and his wife, the former Agnes Marie Hainsworth, the daughter of Eighth Ward political leader John J. Hainsworth. The 1930 Census shows the family living at 201 Sycamore Street in South Camden, and that Walter Asher worked as a machinist in one of Camden's many shipyards. Besides James the family included his aunt Elizabeth Asher and her month-old baby, also named Elizabeth Asher. Interestingly enough, Agnes Asher is recorded twice in the 1930 Census, both at the Sycamore Street address and under her maiden name at her parents home on Ferry Avenue.

James Asher attended school through the 10th grade and then, like the majority of boys of his generation, went to work. After serving in the United States Navy during World War II, James Asher returned to Camden and married Helen Mary Surowiec, the daughter of John and Mary Surowiec of 1709 Tioga Street, Camden in 1946. When the 1947 City Directory was compiled, the Ashers were living at the Tioga Street address with Mr. and Mrs. Surowiec. By the mid-1950s James and Helen Asher had moved to 2967 Tuckahoe Road in Fairview. They attended and educated their children at St. Joan of Arc Roman Catholic Church in Fairview

James Russell Asher was appointed to the Camden Fire Department on March 1, 1947 and reported for duty with Engine Company 10 the next day. He was detailed to City Commissioner Aaron's office on December 18, 1950, possibly in anticipation of his being recalled to duty with the United States Navy. James R. Asher entered the service on January 15, 1951 and remained on active duty until June 1, 1951. Upon his return to Camden he was returned to Engine Company 10.

On May 1, 1956 James R. Asher was promoted to Captain and was assigned to Engine Company 2, then based at the old Fire Headquarters at North 5th and Arch Streets. He served with Engine 2 until October 4, 1960, when he was assigned to Commissioner Garrity's office. Captain Asher was returned to Engine Company 2 on October 11, 1960, where he served until January 9, 1961 when he was again sent to assist Commissioner Garrity. On March 19, 1961 Captain Asher was sent to Engine Company 8 on Kaighn Avenue. On February 1, 1965 James R. Asher was promoted to Acting District Chief in he First Fire District. He was made permanent in his title on August 2, 1965. 

Chief James R. Asher retired on May 1, 1973. His son, John W. Asher, became a Camden fire fighter in 1977. His father, Walter Asher, last a resident of Clementon, New Jersey, died in 1983. James Asher passed away in Deptford, New Jersey on May 31, 2003, survived by his wife, five children, and a host of other relatives and friends.

James R. Asher's uncle J. James "Big Jim" Hainsworth was also politically active. He served as Camden County sheriff for two terms and held many other posts over his long career. First cousin Joseph C. Hainsworth served with the Camden Police Deartment from 1954 to 1985, and first cousin J. James "Jim" Hainsworth was also politically active.   

Camden Courier-Post * August 19, 1957

Firemen Here Get Advanced First Aid Course

More than 40 members of the Camden Fire Department have completed the Red Cross course in advanced first aid according to announcement today by Howard F. Keller, Collingswood, chairman of the Camden County Chapter's first aid committee. 

Instruction sessions were under the direction of Fire Chief William V. Pfefferle, Drillmaster Anthony Dzinski, a member of the local chapter first aid group, assisted by Nicholas E. George, were instructors. Dzinski is a member of the Red Cross faculty at the National Aquatic School held in this area each year for instruction in advance safety techniques. Dick Harris, director of Red Cross safety services, supervised.

All members of the graduating class are personnel of several units housed at fire department headquarters here. These include the Headquarters Company, Engine Company 2, Rescue Squad 1 and Truck Company 1. These groups include: 

Rescue Squad: Captains Arthur Batten, Philip A. Stinger and Albert Weller; Edward Brendlinger, Harrison MacNeir, Robert Olesiewicz and James W. Smith.

Headquarters Company: Raymond Banford, John K. Voll and John W. Yates.

Truck Company 1: Captains Daniel Jiannetto, Robert E. Dukes and Otto V. Kaiser; William Watkin, Chester Gedrich, George Baxter, John Mogck, George C. Hennessy, Charles Devlin, Ambrose W. Faust, Joseph McTaggart, Howard R. Taggart, William G. Winstanley and Elmer Johnson Jr.

Engine Company 2: Captains James R. Asher, Thomas Winstanley; Carl Wirtz, James McGrory, Edwin V. Decker, James Stewart, Francis X. McTaggart, Anthony T. Orme, Mario D. Fattore, James O. Jones, Francis P. Stibi, William Hopkins, Robert E. Briggs, John Giuliano, Casper Martelli, Harold H. Pike, John J. Vane, William Stibi, John DiMaggio and Harry Kleinfelder.

Veterans Boxing Association Ring 6
11th Annual Banquet - April 20, 1959

1931 127lbs
Dick Graminga, Charles Humes 
and Tony Georgette-Managers
Eddie Prince, Lew Sparks
and Jack Blackburn-Trainers

Joseph Grochowski
Al Bunker
Ed Kaszycki
Andy Friday
John Skiba
John Dombrowski
Walter Szalanski
Nick Pawlak
Wm. O'Brien
Bill Neil
Wm. Schultz
Tom Scarduzio
Peter Paull
Barney Tracey
Dave Hainsworth
Walter Zimolong
Edward Shapiro
Thomas McLaughlin
John Opfer

Joey Powell's Well-Wishers 
Sergeant Ray Smith

Vallie Francesconi
Tom Ryan
Leon Lucas
Jesse Urban
Bobbie Zimmerman
Joe (Kid) Murphy
Pee Wee Wilson
Jackie Gleason
Joe Vitarelli
Al Daley
Frankie Youker
Joe McEvoy
Frank Valenti
Jim McFadden
Charles Bauer
George Ballantine
James O'Neill
Dorothy Dougherty
Agnes McHenry
Vicky Dangler
Francis Souders
Loretta and Reds
Roger Cotton
Leon McCarthy
Kenneth Geitz
Joe Daubman
Norman Jacobson
Nick Colofrancisco
Chris Rago
Charles Myers
Ray Cohand
Paul Harduk
Charles Wells
Carl Stolinski
Walter Wilson
Steve Straub
Charley Kmiec
Jimmy Tyler
Joe Dorfy
William Vogel
John Campbell

Steve O'Keefe
Sam Laird
Ed Rickter
Don Cragin
John Odorisio
Michael Przywara
Walter Paleszewski
Watson Burdalski
Stanley Snajkowski
Frank Drabik
John P. Kawczak
Frank Kulesa
Steve Kirby
James R. Asher
Polack Tony
Stephen Yakopczyna
Helen and Chick
Don Wilson
James Monaghan
George Carr
Bill Jentsch
John Greenan
Charles Galasso
Don's Barber Shop
Joe Shaw
Ben Gutowski
Tom Bristow
Joseph Stelmach
Leon Hood
George Saunders
Mike Borman
Anthony Cirelli
Bob Hardy
Frank Hardy
Benny DePalma
Frank Padulla
Mike Yack
Stanley Powell
George Kroecker
A Friend
The Fox

Tom Fish

Camden Courier-Post * September 20, 1968



James R. Asher - Harold Melleby - Spencer Smith Jr. - Leon Puszczykowski
Elizabeth Hawk -
Alfred R. Pierce -  John Marini

Chief James Asher, 1st Battalion, directs movement of a big line
at a Second Alarm fire at the Giordano Waste Material Company junkyard
that had spread to a commercial building at South 2nd and Line Streets - Spring 1966

Click on Image to Enlarge

1971 I.A.F.F. Convention Banquet
Three Camden Couples
Front to back: Mr. & Mrs. Bobby Welch,
Mr. and Mrs. Bill Bain, Mr. and Mrs. Jim Asher 


Camden Courier-Post - June 2, 2003

On May 31, 2003, of Camden. Age 79. Helen M. (nee Surowiec)'s beloved husband of 57 years. Devoted father of Janet A. Chance, Joyce H. Kaminski (Arthur), Judith M. Miloszewski (Thomas), John W. Asher and James R. Asher, Jr. (Maryann). Proud grandfather of Jenny, Randy, John, Jimmy, Joey, Jeffrey, Mandy (Mark), Stanley and Nicholas. Loving great grandfather of Natalia and Brielle.
Mr. Asher retired from the Camden City Fire Department, the International Association of Firefighters and FEMA, and a member of the NJ State Retired Police and Firefighters Association. He is a Navy Veteran of WWII and the Korean Conflict, was a lifetime member of the Veteran of Foreign Wars and of the Disabled American Veterans.
Family and friends are invited to attend the viewing Wednesday morning from 9:30 to 11am at GARDNER FUNERAL HOME, RUNNEMEDE, 126 S. Black Horse Pike, Runnemede. Funeral Service 11am, Wednesday, at the Funeral Home. Int. St. Joseph's Cemetery, Chews Landing.

Camden Courier-Post - June 2, 2008

(nee Surowiec), peacefully passed away on August 29, 2008, of Camden. Age 82.
Beloved wife of the late James R. Asher, Sr. Devoted mother of James R., Jr. (Maryann), John (Patricia), Judith Miloszewski (Tom), Joyce Kaminski (Art) and Janet (Scott). Loving grandmother of John, James, Joseph, Jeffrey, Jennifer, Randy, Amanda, Stanley and Nicholas and great grandmother of Natalia, Brielle, Johnna, Cameron and Max. Dear sister of Lillian Wasko and also the late Blanche, Joseph, Jenny and Zigmund.
Services and interment are private at the request of the family. Expressions of sympathy may be e-mailed to Condolences@Gardner FuneralHome.com.